Final call on Zuma legal costs lies with Ramaphosa

President Jacob Zuma sits in the dock during his brief appearance at the Durban High Court.
President Jacob Zuma sits in the dock during his brief appearance at the Durban High Court.
Image: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

President Cyril Ramaphosa has a critical decision to make in the coming days and it will shape the future of the corruption case against former president Jacob Zuma.

Lawyers for Zuma, Thint - the French arms company accused of bribing him- and the state agreed this morning that the case against them be postponed, so they can challenge the decision to proceed with their trial.

Zuma appeared in the Durban High Court today on 16 charges that include fraud, corruption and racketeering.

Thint lawyers want to make representations to the NPA, in which they will argue that the case against them should not proceed.

Zuma's legal team will seek a review of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams' decision that there was no reason for him not to be tried.

Ramaphosa must decide whether he fights a DA application to stop continued legal funding for Zuma's fight against his corruption prosecution. If he chooses to stay out of that legal battle, Zuma will undoubtedly fight the case on his own. The stakes are very high for Zuma.

That's because Zuma's strategy to thwart the case against him rests on at least three court bids to permanently stop it from going ahead. And that strategy needs money.

Up until now, on the basis of a 2006 "deal" between the State Attorney and Zuma, the former president has enjoyed untrammelled funding for his multiple challenges to the corruption charges against him.

Answers to parliamentary questions reveal that the funding of Zuma's battles against his prosecution has so far cost taxpayers at least R32.4-million.

Ramaphosa has told the EFF that the Presidency was obligated to continue to pay the legal fees, unless a court reviews it and sets it aside.

The Presidency reiterated this obligation in response to a lawyers letter from the DA. Ramaphosa's responses suggest he may choose to abide by the court ruling on the DA application.

Former President Jacob Zuma had his first court appearance in the Durban High Court on April 6 2018, for a case laid against him by the state for corruption charges. Judge Themba Sishi has postpon...

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