File image: President Jacob Zuma. IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Jacob Zuma reportedly wanted taxpayers to pay for his legal representation in order for him to be in line with the National Prosecuting Authority, reports the City Press. 

This comes after the former president faced corruption charges in 2006. 

His legal team then argued that government should see to his legal defense charges. His legal defense consists of three senior advocates, two juniors, an attorney, candidate attorney and an accounting expert.

These demands were brought forward by Zuma’s lawyers and the state’s interaction at the Pretoria High Court, late last week. 

The latest court hearing concerns the DA’s call for Zuma to pay back the money that government spent on his legal costs between 2005 and 2007. 

During this period, Billy Downer SC led the team of prosecutors. 

At the time, the state was prepared to finance Zuma’s attorney, Michael Hulley, the fees just had to be agreed upon. 

Taxpayers paid for senior counsel, Neil Tuchten in 2004 and an advocate for Schabir Shaik’s case. R8 000 was paid per court day at R800 an hour. 

Further payments for seven legal experts were rated between R2 500 and R24 000. 

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha told Parliament that Zuma’s legal costs for the five cases since 2006 amounted to R24 240 201.

At the time, Zuma agreed to compensate the state attorney for all expenses if he was found guilty.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance in March called out President Cyril Ramaphosa for double standards following his decision to foot the legal bill of Jacob Zuma against criminal charges while refusing the same favour for five apartheid police officers charged with the murder of Nokuthula Simelane.

The DA made these submissions in an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court, after Ramaphosa confirmed that the state would pay the legal fees after criminal charges were reinstated against Zuma. 

DA Federal Council chairman James Selfe, in his court papers, said Ramaphosa had no legal grounds to make such a decision which would allow Zuma to challenge the 16 charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering charges.

Ramaphosa made the confirmation in his reply to question by the EFF’s Julius Malema. 

In his reply, Ramaphosa said the decision to allow taxpayers’ money to be used was done in accordance with 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 government as MEC for Economic Development in KwaZulu-Natal.

He also said that Zuma made a commitment to then-president Thabo Mbeki that he would pay back the money should he be convicted on the criminal charges against him.

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