Zuma must pay from his own pocket for legal fees, court rules

The high court in Pretoria has dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s bid to appeal a costs order made against him in his personal capacity when he went to court to review former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s ‘State of Capture’ report.

The court ruled on Friday that it was “not in the interests of justice” to grant Zuma’s condonation application, which was necessary for an actual leave to appeal application.

A full bench heard the application in September, where he argued to appeal against the costs order, which was made in December 2017. That order compelled Zuma to pay what could be about R10m in legal fees in his personal capacity. 

In December, high court judge president Dunstan Mlambo described Zuma’s review application of the report as “ill-advised” and “reckless”.

Zuma had taken Madonsela’s report on review, and was slapped with two punitive costs orders relating to the report. The first one was for a botched attempt to interdict the release of the report, while the second was for taking the report on review. 

Besides having to fork out the money for the original costs order, Zuma’s financial woes deepened further on Friday, when the court also ordered him to pay the costs of both the condonation application in the matter and the actual application for leave to appeal.

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