If DA had gone to court sooner‚ Zuma would have paid for legal fees: lawyer

Jacob Zuma’s legal counsel says an application by the DA challenging decisions by the state attorney and the presidency to cover the former president’s legal costs is a bid by the party to portray itself as the “champion of accountability”.

“It is clear that this litigation is part and parcel of the DA’s political strategy to undermine its political enemy and to portray itself as the champion of accountability in public life‚” Zuma’s counsel Thabani Masuku SC argued in papers filed at the Pretoria High Court.

The DA has approached the court seeking a review of the decisions taken by the state attorney and the presidency to pay Zuma’s legal fees‚ and wants them to be declared unlawful and set aside. The EFF has joined the DA in the matter.

According to the party‚ the state has already spent at least R15.3m on Zuma’s legal fees. Zuma faces 18 criminal charges‚ including counts of fraud‚ racketeering‚ and money laundering.

Zuma’s fees‚ according to the EFF‚ have reached R32m.

The case is about whether the state should pay for Zuma’s personal woes. The DA argued in court on Tuesday that Zuma should pay back the money the state attorney paid to cover his legal fees in criminal cases he faced in his personal capacity.

The party argued that Section 3 (1) of the State Attorney Act does not provide for the covering of Zuma’s legal fees in his personal capacity. The section states that the state attorney shall perform work on behalf of the government.

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