Zuma’s le­gal bat­tles cost R24 mil­lion

The Witness - - NEWS - JAN GERBER

ONE­of­the­en­dur­ing­mys­ter­ies­of­theJa­cob­Zuma­ad­min­is­tra­tion­has­been­cleared­up:­Zuma’s­le­gal­costs­whilepres­i­dent­ amounted­ to­ at­ leastR24­mil­lion,­Jus­tice­Min­is­ter­Michael­Ma­sutha­has­re­vealed­in­a­par­lia­men­tary­an­swer.

Last­year­in­Par­lia­ment,­Zuma­re­fused­to­an­swer­ques­tions­about­hisle­gal­ costs,­ and­ told­ the­ Na­tion­alCoun­cil­ of­ Prov­inces­ it­ was­ “not[his]­prob­lem”.

Free­dom­Front­Plus­leader­Pi­eterGroe­newald­ asked­ Ma­sutha­ if­ “his­de­part­ment­has­paid­any­le­gal­costss­ince­ 2009­ in­ cases­ in­ which­ the­former­pres­i­dent­of­South­Africa­was­in­volved”,­and­what­these­cost.

Ma­sutha­listed­five­cases,­cost­ingR24­240­201,54.

“The­fact­that­Zuma­did­not­winone­of­these­cases,­serves­as­proofthat­tax­pay­ers’­money­was­wasted­to­keep­ him­ out­ of­ trou­ble,”­ Groene-wald­said­in­a­state­ment.

Ac­cord­ing­to­Groe­newald’s­in­for­ma­tion,­the­case­where­the­Na­tion­alProse­cut­ing­ Author­ity­ ob­tained­ asearch­ war­rant­ for­ the­ of­fices­ ofThint/Thales,­as­well­as­a­let­ter­to­theau­thor­i­ties­ in­ Mau­ri­tius­ to­ ob­tain­doc­u­ments,­was­op­posed­by­Zuma­atthe­cost­of­R15,3­mil­lion.

“This­case­was­taken­to­the­Con­sti­tu­tional­Court­and­was­lost­by­Zuma.­It­is­the­only­mat­ter­that­was­fi­nalised,”­he­said.

The­case­where­Zuma­ques­tionedthe­con­sti­tu­tional­pow­ers­of­the­pub­lic­pro­tec­tor,­af­ter­for­mer­pub­lic­pro­tec­tor­Thuli­Madon­sela­re­ported­onNkandla,­had­cost­R3,2­mil­lion,­andZuma­had­used­five­ad­vo­cates.

He­ said­ the­ case­ in­ which­ Zuma­had­tried­to­pre­vent­Madon­sela­from­re­leas­ing­her­re­port­on­state­cap­ture­had­cost­R2,5­mil­lion,­and­Zuma­hadused­three­ad­vo­cates.

Zuma’s­ap­peal­against­the­Demo­crat­icAl­liance’s­ re­quest­ to­ make­known­his­rea­sons­for­fir­ing­for­mer­min­is­ters­of­Fi­nance­Pravin­Gord­hanand­ Nhlanhla­ Nene­ had­ costR1,2­mil­lion.­This­case­will­be­hear­don­May­2­in­the­Supreme­Court­ofAp­peals.

Groe­newald­said­he­had­posed­the­ques­tion­ to­ Ma­sutha­ in­ Novem­ber­last­ year,­ but­ Ma­sutha­ had­ not­ re­sponded.Groe­newald­ re­peated­ the­ques­tion,­which­told­him­that­“them­i­nis­ter­was­try­ing­to­pro­tect­him[Zuma]­while­he­was­still­pres­i­dent”.The­ FF­ Plus’s­ view­ is­ that­ Zu­mashould­pay­his­own­le­gal­costs.

Groe­newald’s­ state­ment­ was­ re­leased­on­the­same­day­that­PublicPro­tec­tor­Bu­sisiwe­Mkhwe­bane­toldPar­lia­ment’s­ Port­fo­lio­ Com­mit­teeon­Jus­tice­that­her­of­fice­had­spentR15­mil­lion­in­le­gal­costs,­bat­tling­ju­di­cial­re­views­of­pub­lic­pro­tec­tor­re­ports.

“The fact that Zuma did not win one of these cases, serves as proof that tax­pay­ers’ money was wasted to keep him out of trou­ble.”

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