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'Undue delay' by EFF, DA in challenging govt's decision to pay Zuma's legal fees

It’s estimated that the State has coughed up between R15 million and R32 million since 2005 to pay for Jacob Zuma’s lawyers and advocates as well as cost orders made against him.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma appeared 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

PRETORIA - Former President Jacob Zuma’s advocate has reiterated his argument that the delay by opposition parties in challenging the government’s decision to pay his legal fees is prejudicial to him.

This was among the arguments in the High Court in Pretoria on day two of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s application to have Zuma pay for his legal fees out of his own pocket.

It’s estimated that the State has coughed up between R15 million and R32 million since 2005 to pay for Zuma’s lawyers and advocates as well as cost orders made against him.

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.

Zuma’s counsel told the court there has been undue delay in bringing the application which should have been brought years ago when the parties became aware that the State was funding Zuma’s legal fees.

The court heard that the delay is unreasonable.

It was further submitted that the case being brought by the EFF is to hurt the former president politically, adding that there is no indication Zuma was trying to prevent having his day in court.

The red berets hit back, saying there is a wrong which continues to be committed that must be remedied.

The party drew a comparison between this case and the Nkandla matter, arguing that it is another example of the former president benefiting at the expense of the State.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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