President Jacob Zuma could be held liable for legal fees.
President Jacob Zuma could be held liable for legal fees.

Who will pay the bill?

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Nov 3, 2016

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Pretoria - It was a dark day for President Jacob Zuma – not only was the damning former public protector’s report published, but he might also have to dig into his own pocket to foot the legal bill for his now aborted bid to gag State of Capture.

It could run up to more than R3 million, according to a senior advocate who was part of the proceedings.

While ordering that the dreaded report be placed in the public domain by 5pm on Wednesday, the high court in Pretoria was also considering whether to hold the president personally liable for the legal fees of all the parties involved.

The court has already slapped the Zuma camp with a punitive costs order – far higher than a normal costs order – but it was yet to be decided whether taxpayers or Zuma would carry them.

This issue was postponed indefinitely and Zuma was given seven days to deliver submissions to the court on why he shouldn't be held accountable for the bill.

Zuma made use of the State Advocate’s Office in instituting his legal proceedings.

But opposition parties put their foot down soon after the president’s legal team announced at the start of the proceedings that he was withdrawing his urgent court bid.

Leading advocate Anthea Platt said he tendered the costs of the application.

If the opposition parties didn't argue that Zuma had to pay, the taxpayers would again have footed the bill for Zuma’s litigation.

Advocates Dali Mpofu and Dumisa Ntsebeza said Zuma shouldn't get away with running to court with his own personal issues again and then expect taxpayers to pay.

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