The state attorney still does not have the R18.2 million in taxpayer money – which was used for ex-pres. Jacob Zuma’s legal costs in his corruption trial – not recovered from him.
In 2021, the Court of Appeal ordered the state attorney “to take all necessary steps, including the initiation of civil proceedings, to recover the money that the state paid to Mr. to recover Zuma’s legal costs”.
Zuma argued at the time that it would be a violation of his constitutional rights to suspend payment for his legal costs, but the appeal rejected this argument.
The court found that it is against the public interest to allow officials, who use state resources to delay or delay prosecution, to circumvent this liability.
Two years later, however, the state attorney has still not issued any summons against Zuma.
Adv. Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA’s spokesperson on justice and constitutional development, says this is money that could have been used to help straighten out an already struggling criminal justice system.
“Instead, the money was used to help a former ANC president evade responsibility and not answer to the corruption charges against him,” says Breytenbach.
“For far too long, Zuma has shamelessly used public money to launch several failed legal efforts aimed at escaping accountability.”
Breytenbach says this undermines the rule of law and is contrary to the principles of accountability as contained in the Constitution.
“It is unacceptable that the state attorney failed to issue a summons against Zuma – a year after the initial payment reminder was ignored.”
This indicates a lack of urgency by the state to recover taxpayers’ money that was unsuccessfully used to defend ANC leaders accused of offences. “It also indicates the minister’s complete lack of control over his portfolio, as he is ultimately responsible for this lack of action.”
Zuma’s corruption trial will resume on 15 and 16 August in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.
The former president is apparently still in Russia at this stage receiving medical treatment.