Former S. African president Zuma ordered to pay legal fees

CAPE TOWN, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — A South African court on Friday ordered former President Jacob Zuma to pay for his legal fees for a case related to “state capture” allegations.

In a ruling, the North Gauteng High Court dismissed Zuma’s bid to appeal the cost order granted in his unsuccessful challenge to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who requested Zuma to set up a commission of inquiry into state capture.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) both submitted applications to the court earlier this year, demanding that Zuma personally pick up the bill for his various criminal and civil cases.

The DA and EFF want the court to declare that the state is not liable for the costs incurred by Zuma in his personal capacity in criminal prosecutions against him.

The presidency has previously said the state would carry on covering Zuma’s legal fees until a court decides otherwise.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that 15.3 million rand (about 1.1 million U.S. dollars) had already been paid in the time Zuma had been challenging a corruption case, in which the former president faces charges related to allegedly accepting a bribe from French arms company Thales in the awarding of an arms deal in the late 1990s.

Zuma is also accused of collaborating with the controversial Indian Gupta family in looting from the state coffer, known as state capture.

Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied the accusations.

The DA welcomed Friday’s ruling, saying this is a victory for not only the DA but also for the South African taxpayers.

“This sends out a very strong message to government officials and members of the Executive that they cannot use state resources to litigate frivolously,” the DA said.

The party said it will continue to defend the Constitution against those who seek to violate it for personal benefit.

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