Bosasa Jacob Zuma ANgelo AGrizzi

A file photo of former South African President Jacob Zuma. Photo: ZUMA Press / RealTime Images

#ZumaCosts: The arguments for and against making Jacob Zuma pay his legal fees

What’s happening in the #ZumaCosts trial? Well, Dali Mpofu is doing everything he can to make sure Jacob Zuma pays his tab.

Bosasa Jacob Zuma ANgelo AGrizzi

A file photo of former South African President Jacob Zuma. Photo: ZUMA Press / RealTime Images

A legal team representing Jacob Zuma are challenging an order to make him cover the costs of his own legal fees, as initiated by a ruling concerning the #ZumaCosts in December 2017.

They’ve been successful in securing his leave to appeal, which now means Zuma can present further arguments as to why he shouldn’t be held personally liable.

What do the legal bills of Jacob Zuma cost South Africa?

Zuma’s legal fees reportedly total R17 million, and are currently being paid by the taxpayer. However, this case refers to the costs incurred when JZ tried to stop the release of Thuli Madonsela’s state of capture report – the costs we are talking about here stand at R1 million.

It’s hard to keep up when you’ve been in court as many times as Jacob Zuma has. This case follows Cyril Ramaphosa’s withdrawal of the presidential application for leave to appeal. Now, we’ve seen Msholozi’s lawyers slug it out with those desperate to make him pay his own way.

But what arguments have been made by either side?

#ZumaCosts: Arguments why he should pay up

The crux of the argument to make Zuma pay his legal fees is that his application ignores the previous judgement. Advocate Dali Mpofu argues that there is no way this application if the rule is read properly, could be brought forward or succeed.

Meanwhile, Cyril Ramaphosa has withdrawn the leave to appeal himself back in April. Mpofu is adamant this should be the end of the matter.

Advocate Michelle Le Roux called Zuma out for “following the same pattern” he has done in the spy tapes trial and with the Nkandla proceedings. She labelled his application as simple “delaying tactics”, and said that his leave to appeal came with no merits.

#ZumaCosts: Arguments for why he shouldn’t pay up

Le Roux was right, delaying really is the best tactic they’ve got. Zuma’s defence team won’t go down without a fight, though. An appeal is surely set to follow if he’s unsuccessful, and his lawyers will be keen to ram home that JZ needs more time to deal with the issues presented to him.

It’s also been argued that the goalposts have shifted for the former president and that when he ceased leadership of the country, it invalidated the leave to appeal he made as President of South Africa. Therefore, he should be able to make a new one.

Jacob Zuma will also be expected to make his own arguments when an appeal date is set.