Former president Jacob Zuma has been granted the go-ahead to appeal a R10 million cost order relating to his challenge of the former public protector's remedial action in connection with the Nkandla upgrades. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Pretoria -  Former president Jacob Zuma is optimistic that another court will overturn the R10-million costs order granted against him by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

A full bench, led by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, earlier ordered Zuma to pay the costs of his legal challenge to the remedial action called for by former public protector Thuli Madonsela. 

The court also made several damning findings against Zuma, who was still the president at the time. This included that he had acted recklessly when he launched the attack on the report. 

His advocate, Muzi Sikhakhane SC, told the three judges on Thursday that Zuma was, in fact, a champion for the constitution when he challenged the report. He simply wanted to ensure that the remedial action called for by the public protector, was sound in law. According to Sikhakhane, it was not a question of Zuma being opposed to the remedial action, which called for a commission of inquiry into State Capture.

Sikhakhane said at the heart of this application is not whether the grounds for review of the public protector’s report were good or not,  but whether in instituting the review, Zuma was reckless. 

Zuma meanwhile passed the first hurdle in his bid for leave to appeal, when the court spent most of Thursday morning hearing submissions of whether Zuma, in his personal capacity, should be allowed to intervene in the leave to appeal application. 

The court allowed Zuma’s application to personally intervene and appeal the R10-million costs order against him. Judge Mlambo said the court will later give its reasons for its finding.

It was argued in this regard on behalf of Zuma that since he was personally implicated in the “malfeasance and improper conduct investigated by the public protector”, he should be allowed to personally defend these allegations. The EFF, the UDM, Cope and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution opposed the application. 

Dali Mpofu for the UDM argued that the appeal proceedings were “dead” and that “you cannot breathe life into a dead body.” 

It was submitted that it was the end of the case when President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year withdrew the appeal application in April this year.

But Zuma said as he is no longer president, he had a substantial interest in the case as he was personally being held liable to pay back the R10-million regarding the costs for that application.

Zuma also had another hurdle to cross - the fact that he launched the leave to appeal application out of time. His advocate in this regard argued that when Zuma had left office in February, there was a lot to sort out. This included who would take over his legal issues, as he had for 10 years relied on the State Attorney’s office to this. It was said that this and the fact that he changed his lawyer, added to the dealy.

The arguments continue.

Pretoria News