Public protector bill to add to Jacob Zuma's legal fee woes
Politics / 16 October 2019, 07:45am / Bongani Hans and Loyiso Sidimba
Durban - While former president Jacob Zuma has labelled the recent ruling by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on his corruption trial as a “travesty of justice aimed at destroying me”, it has emerged that he owes the public protector R330 000 in unpaid legal fees.
This relates to his unsuccessful high court bids to interdict and review the state capture report by advocate Busiswe Mkhwebane’s predecessor, Thuli Madonsela.
Mkhwebane is expected to reveal details of contingency assets on Friday, when she presents her office’s 2018/19 annual report and performance information for the first quarter of 2019/20 to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.
According to the report, Zuma owes the public protector R163 847 for the failed review and another R165 484 for the unsuccessful urgent application to stop Madonsela from releasing her report in October 2016.
The revelations in the report follow DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s call yesterday for President Cyril Ramaphosa to confirm that his administration will not fund Zuma’s latest appeal of the decision to dismiss his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.
“Yesterday, I wrote to President Ramaphosa, requesting that he confirms in writing that the State will not pay a cent towards Jacob Zuma’s latest stalling tactic in the form of his appeal,” he said.
Zuma’s short-lived finance minister, Des van Rooyen, also has a legal bill of over R20 000, for also seeking and failing to interdict the release of the same report in 2016.
The money owed by Zuma, Van Rooyen and others is part of more than R1.25million due to the public protector’s office.
Other prominent politicians, senior government officials and entities that must pay back Mkhwebane’s office include former Mpumalanga agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs MEC Andries Gamede, who owes about R123 000, and former Eastern Cape director- general and head of the provincial treasury Nomdakazana Mbina- Mthembu, who was unsuccessful in her high court application to review and set aside Mkhwebane’s report that made four adverse findings against her, in the preparations for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela in December 2013.
Meanwhile, addressing a small crowd of his supporters outside the court after his case was postponed, Zuma said subjecting him to trial would be “like sending me to the slaughterhouse”.
“We are appealing (the case) because we are not satisfied, as it is not clear why the permanent stay of prosecution was rejected,” said Zuma.
Judge Sharmaine Bolton, who presided over the matter, has alongside Zuma’s defence team and prosecution agreed that the case should be postponed to February 4.
“On that date, the defence will state reasons as to why they said this judgment should be appealed,” Zuma told his supporters.
In the meantime, the former statesman is expected to return to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture next week, where he is scheduled, and then he will appear there again in November.