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Ramaphosa defends govt’s undertaking to pay Zuma's legal fees

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the undertaking with Jacob Zuma was signed in good faith and that the former president will personally have to pay back the money if he loses.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to former President Jacob Zuma for his contribution to South Africa’s development at a farewell cocktail function at Tuynhuys on 20 February 2018. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the government’s undertaking to spend millions on Jacob Zuma’s legal costs in court action over the fraud and corruption charges against him.

Ramaphosa told Parliament that Zuma will personally have to pay back the money if he loses.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) claims the deal struck with Zuma is unlawful and is gearing for legal action to force the Presidency to recover the R15.3 million that taxpayers have forked out so far.

President Ramaphosa says the undertaking with Zuma was signed in good faith.

“With regards to the payment of legal costs, in case he loses the case, he would be willing (and) able to pay back the money and of course, if that fails, the government has other legal means to which it can go and recover the money.”

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says they believe Zuma’s total taxpayer-funded legal bill stands at around R64 million.

Ramaphosa says he’s unaware and that the R15.3 million calculated so far relates only to the corruption charges.

A fresh legal battle now looms, with the DA set to challenge the legality of the agreement and to seek an order forcing the Presidency to get Zuma to repay the money.

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