Zuma must pay le­gal fees

The Independent on Saturday - - METRO - SHAUN SMILLIE and SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

FOR­MER pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma is al­leged to have made mil­lions from state cap­ture, but his wealth might not help him now that he has to foot the bill for his le­gal costs.

The North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day ruled Zuma had to pay the court costs of his failed le­gal re­view of for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s di­rec­tive in­struct­ing that a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry be ap­pointed to probe state cap­ture.

The de­ci­sion was wel­comed by op­po­si­tion par­ties who said it set a prece­dent not only for the em­bat­tled for­mer pres­i­dent, but for other politi­cians who used friv­o­lous le­gal chal­lenges for their own gains.

For Zuma the rul­ing could see the end of his in­fa­mous Stal­in­grad de­fence, where he used tax-payer money to slow down and im­pede the var­i­ous court bat­tles he has been in­volved in.

“Now that there is the pos­si­bil­ity of in­di­vid­u­als pay­ing their own costs, it is go­ing to ef­fect many lead­ers who saw this as a way of keeping jus­tice at bay,” said po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Dr So­madoda Fikeni.

It is be­lieved le­gal costs re­lat­ing to yes­ter­day’s de­ci­sion could cost Zuma R10 mil­lion. Even if he had the money to pay from il­le­gally gained ac­tiv­i­ties, Fikeni said it would be dif­fi­cult to use this to pay his le­gal fees.

“The prob­lem is that once the spot­light is on you, any trans­ac­tion will be fol­lowed,” he said. “So it is pos­si­ble those in­volved in state cap­ture won’t be able to ac­cess those funds.”

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