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Johannesburg - It is unacceptable for the South African public to keep footing the bill for former president Jacob Zuma's “delay at all costs” legal strategy, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

The DA was convinced that the deal referred to by President Cyril Ramaphosa this week, which guaranteed that the state would pay for Zuma’s legal defence, could not have been reached lawfully, he told journalists in Johannesburg following the two-day meeting of the DA’s federal executive.

"Our legal team has written to the president to request a copy of this agreement. We will not hesitate to challenge it if we believe it is illegitimate. It simply cannot be acceptable for the public to keep footing the bill for Zuma’s 'delay at all costs' legal strategy – especially as Zuma is fighting this legal battle in his personal capacity. If Jacob Zuma wants to abuse legal process to avoid prison he should be prepared to pay for it himself," Maimane said.

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He welcomed the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) announcement on Friday that Zuma would finally be prosecuted on several corruption and related charges, but said the NPA had done everything possible, both legal and illegal, to delay the inevitable. 

"While this victory must be celebrated, we must point out that none of the various national directors of public prosecution who served through the Zuma presidency acted with the requisite independence and moral courage required of that office. They served Jacob Zuma as their political master, and when he was gone, they found the spine to act against him.

"We cannot rest until we have a truly independent national director of prosecutions, and a truly independent NPA. That is why I asked President Ramaphosa on Tuesday whether he would support a greater role for parliament in a more transparent and credible appointment process for the NDPP.

"In the meantime, we look forward to the commencement of the Zuma criminal trial without any further delay. We will vigorously oppose any further delay tactics by Zuma or the State," Maimane said.

African News Agency/ANA