Wednesday , March 3 2021

Zuma Legal Fees: Reject DA case due to undue delay – lawyers argue



The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria should reject DA's application to revoke the decision of the state's law firm to finance former President Jacob Zuma's legal fees, Zuma argued lawyers on Tuesday.

Attorney Thabani Masuku, who represented Zuma on Tuesday, told a full bench that DA failed to raise the case as far back as 2008.

"Reject DA's case due to undue delay," he said.

READ: Zuma legal fees: He abused his office and should not receive special treatment, the court hears

Masuku said it was clear that DA knew that the legal costs of Zuma were paid by the state as far back as September 2008.

"What we have here is a situation where the (former) lawyer, Michael (Michael) Hulley and Zuma have to give a complete account of what happened 14 years ago.

"The unreasonable delay and the prejudice that arises from the one who speaks arguing 14 years later is obvious," he said.

Millions already spent

Both DA and EFF have brought an appeal to the right of appeal, requesting the decision of the state attorney that Zuma requested him to finance his costs in his criminal proceedings.

The presidency has previously said that the state would continue to cover Zum's legal fees until a court decided otherwise.

President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed in March that R15,3m was already paid during the time Zuma had challenged the "spy" – recordings of an obvious plot against him – because he is accused of allegedly having accepted bribe from the French weapon company Thales in the award of a Coat agreement.

Masuku claimed in court that "it is not just Zuma that will suffer (if the court is toceling its costs). The state lawyer should have acted illegally and someone in the (law firm's office) must have an account."

He also argued that DA was based on the provisions of the Law on Promotion of Administrative Justice (PAJA) in its application.

He said that the party had failed to comply with Clause 7.1 of the PAJA by the fact that its application was brought outside the prescribed timeframe for 180 days from the date of the decision or from the fact that DA had expected to know the decision.

Prosecution in personal capabilities

As regards the EFF's application, Masuku said if the court found favor for the party, Zuma would pay back R16m in six months.

Earlier, the EFF had argued that it sought an order to steer the former president and Hulley to repay money spent by the prosecutor in Zuma's legal battle.

It is the EFF's argument that the prosecutor paid over R25m of public funds to a private law firm, Hulley Inc, for legal costs incurred by Zuma.

"Over R25m has been spent and more will be spent in the future if this application is not considered and maintained."

Meanwhile, Sean Rosenberg, SC, suggested that the criminal prosecution be against Zuma in his personal capacity, and therefore the state should not pay for its legal fees.

He also added that the test should be if the charges against Zuma were due to the fact that he acted within the framework of the office he held.

"The state attorney has asked him to act on his behalf, not on behalf of the government," claimed Rosenberg.

The case continues on Wednesday.


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