State aid for Zuma’s legal fight approved
Ramaphosa gives his presidential green light
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has officially given his stamp of approval to the decision by the state’s attorneys to allow ex-president Jacob Zuma to use state funds to fight 16 criminal charges lodged against him in the Durban High Court.
Ramaphosa filed papers in the High Court in Pretoria this week, in which he gave notice to oppose the DA’s application to declare the usage of state funds by Zuma as “irrational” and “unlawful”.
Zuma made his first court appearance on April 6, in connection with the charges against him, but the case was postponed until June 8 to allow him to make a formal application to review the charges.
Zuma, who faces one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud, has until Tuesday to make a formal application. He may also apply for a stay of prosecution.
Zuma’s co- accused, arms manufacturer Thales SA, intends to make representations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, on why charges against it should be dropped.
Ramaphosa, Justice and Correctional Services Minis- ter Michael Masutha and Zuma filed notices to oppose the DA’s application.
They are now expected to file written affidavits justifying their decision.
In March, the DA through James Selfe, chairperson of its federal executive committee, asked the court to interdict Ramaphosa from allowing Zuma to use state funds to defend himself in court.
In papers filed on March 23, Selfe argued Ramaphosa had no legal grounds to allow Zuma to use state funds to challenge the 16 charges.
Selfe filed the papers after Ramaphosa had confirmed in Parliament, in his reply to questions by EFF leader Julius Malema, that the state would pay for Zuma’s legal fees.
Ramaphosa told Malema in March that the decision to allow taxpayers’ money to be used was made in accordance to Section 3(3) of the State Attorney Act of 1957 – saying it was allowable because the alleged offences were committed while Zuma was holding an official position in the government as MEC in KwaZuluNatal.
Selfe disagreed, arguing that Section 3(3) did not allow Ramaphosa or any other government official to make such a decision.