NO MORE FREE RIDES

For­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s lit­i­ga­tion-happy ways may have fi­nally come to an end – and his court de­feat yes­ter­day should serve as a warn­ing to other state of­fi­cials who hope to have tax­pay­ers foot their le­gal bills, says a le­gal ex­pert.

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - FRONT PAGE - Ilse de Lange – ils­edl@ci­ti­zen.co.za

Le­gal ex­pert says for­mer pres­i­dent is not likely to suc­ceed if he tries again.

For­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s lit­i­ga­tion frenzy may have fi­nally come to an end and, ac­cord­ing to a le­gal ex­pert, his court de­feat yes­ter­day should be a warn­ing to other state of­fi­cials who want tax­pay­ers to foot their le­gal bills that they may be held per­son­ally li­able.

A full bench of the High Court in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day dis­missed the for­mer pres­i­dent’s ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal against their rul­ing that he must per­son­ally pay his le­gal costs on a puni­tive scale.

The only way Zuma could avoid pay­ing for the wasted le­gal costs of his abortive at­tempts to over­turn for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s state cap­ture re­port was a pe­ti­tion to the Supreme Court of Ap­peal or a Con­sti­tu­tional Court ap­pli­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to Dr Llewe­lyn Curlewis, a se­nior lec­turer in crim­i­nal and pro­ce­dural law at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria.

How­ever, he added Zuma had a slim chance of suc­cess, es­pe­cially as the rul­ing was from a full bench of the high court.

Curlewis said the rul­ing also showed the court would not hes­i­tate to in­ter­vene and make politi­cians pay for their sins, in­stead of let­ting tax­pay­ers cough up for ill-con­sid­ered court ap­pli­ca­tions.

In De­cem­ber last year, the court or­dered the then pres­i­dent to ap­point a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture and to per­son­ally pay the le­gal costs of his abortive ap­pli­ca­tions to stop the re­port’s re­lease and over­turn the re­me­dial ac­tion. The court said Zuma was try­ing to pro­tect him­self, as he was im­pli­cated in the re­port, the ap­pli­ca­tions were ill-ad­vised and the pub­lic should not have to pay the le­gal bill.

In Jan­uary, Zuma ap­pointed a com­mis­sion to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of state cap­ture, but re­signed and was re­placed by Cyril Ramaphosa as pres­i­dent of the coun­try just a month later.

Zuma may also be or­dered to pay for his de­fence in his cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing trial, which was post­poned to month end, and re­pay be­tween R15 and R32 mil­lion spent on le­gal bat­tles to pre­vent his pros­e­cu­tion. A full bench of the High Court in Pre­to­ria this week re­served judg­ment in ap­pli­ca­tions by the Demo­cratic Al­liance and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters to force Zuma to pay.

The court said Zuma was try­ing to pro­tect him­self.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.