‘No prospects of success on appeal’
A full bench of the High Court in Pretoria yesterday dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal against a personal punitive costs order in his abortive attempts to stop and overturn former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report and granted a further costs order against him.
The court dismissed Zuma’s bid to intervene personally after President Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew the presidency’s bid to appeal the whole of the judgment and also dismissed his application for leave to appeal against the costs order, finding that he had no prospects of success on appeal.
In yesterday’s ruling, the judges said given that the court upheld the remedial action precisely because of Zuma’s personal conflict of interest due to his personal implication in state capture and given that it was unlikely that such a grave conflict of interest would recur, the issue to be appealed and the need for appellate court guidance on how to elevate such conduct by a sitting president was not a pressing issue demanding appellate attention.
They said a court was justified in awarding costs where the conduct of a litigant in connection with the litigation was improper, unreasonable or lacking in bona fides.
Zuma had not demonstrated that there were exceptional circumstances that would warrant appellate interference with the costs order. And they were of the view that his proposed appeal against the personal costs order had no reasonable prospects of success.