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EFF says Zuma’s legal fees total R32m

The State attorney's office has picked up the tab since 2005 and continued to pay through the drawn-out spy tapes legal challenge.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma in the Durban High Court on 8 June 2018. He is charged with 16 counts that include fraud‚ corruption and racketeering. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Pool

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic freedom Fighters (EFF) has calculated that the total cost of former President Jacob Zuma's legal fees to the State is about R32 million and it wants his former attorney Michael Hulley to cough up the R25 million he received from this.

This was among the arguments in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday where the DA and red berets are applying to have Zuma pay for his legal fees out of his own pocket.

The State attorney's office has picked up the tab since 2005 and continued to pay through the drawn-out spy tapes legal challenge.

The former president is currently on trial in the High Court in Durban, where he faces fraud and corruption changes alongside French arms firm Thales.

The EFF says Zuma’s legal tab starts in 2005 during the trial of his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik, where counsel was appointed on a watching brief.

The party also wants Hulley to pay back what he has earned since then; the court earlier denied Hulley’s application to file a late affidavit in this matter, saying he has known about this case since August.

The DA told the court that the government was not party to the criminal case against Zuma and, therefore, should not be held liable to pay for his legal fees.

The party argues that the law allows for the State attorney to provide legal assistance but not to pay for legal fees.

‘ZUMA GIVEN FREE REIN TO LITIGATE AS HE PLEASES’

The DA and EFF have argued that there was no proper accounting performed by the Office of the State Attorney on Zuma’s legal fees, and he was simply allowed to litigate with reckless abandon.

It’s estimated between R51 million and R32 million of State funds have been spent by Zuma defending himself in court.

The DA has told the High Court that the State attorney had no interest in funding Zuma’s opposition in the so-called spy tapes matter, saying that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was already a respondent in the matter.

The EFF has described how Zuma was given free rein to litigate as he pleases.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)