18 September 2017

South Africa: Zuma Must Cover the Costs of the Entire Spy Tapes Case

Photo: flickr
South African President Jacob Zuma
press release

The DA has spent approximately R10 million on fighting to ensure Jacob Zuma gets his day in court and faces up to the 783 charges of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.

While we believe it has been worth every cent and will certainly continue to fight to ensure Mr Zuma has his day in court, the fact is that millions have been spent, funded by the taxpayer, to draw this case out over almost eight and a half years.

It now also seems likely that he will do all in his power, relying on the compromised National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, to draw the matter out even further.

Specifically, we suspect that Mr Zuma will want to make fresh representations about why charges against him should be dropped. He made written and oral representations on why exactly the same charges ought to be dropped back in 2009, and these representations were rejected. But now he is likely to argue that Mr Mpshe (previously an ally in this matter) was hopelessly inept (as several Courts have

But now he is likely to argue that Mr Mpshe (previously an ally in this matter) was hopelessly inept (as several Courts have found) and that therefore he is entitled to make representations again, introducing new grounds, including the time that has elapsed since the charges were formulated.

If this doesn't work - and with Shaun Abrahams making the decision, we're not holding our breath - there's always an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

So, this saga is by no means over, but we will see it out to the bitter end.

It's actually very simple. Instead of ducking and diving, Mr Zuma should let a trial court decide on his innocence. If he is innocent, as he claims, let him have his day in court, and let the court clear him. His actions over the last decade smack of a desperate attempt to avoid this eventuality. These are the actions of a man who knows he has a lot to answer for.

We estimate that Zuma's delaying tactics in the courts to date have cost the taxpayers upwards of R30 million. With the possibility of yet further delaying tactics to ensure he is able to escape prosecution, Mr Zuma needs to be held personally liable, for the cost of the entire so-called "Spy-tapes" saga.

In the most recent example of unnecessary litigation costs, Mr Zuma was content to use public money to send large legal teams to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, knowing full well that his counsel would concede that the original decision to drop the charges was irrational, therefore essentially guaranteeing that the Court would set the decision aside.

It is an absolute outrage and it is for this reason that Mr Zuma must and will be held personally liable and made to pay for wasting valuable financial resources. The DA will not stand by while Jacob Zuma and the ANC-run government plunder state coffers while South Africans are without work and basic services.

James Selfe MP

DA Federal Council Chairperson

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