16 November 2017

South Africa: 'Not My Problem' - Zuma On His State-Funded Legal Costs

Photo: GCIS
South African President Jacob Zuma

It is the DA's fault that the state has to keep coughing up for his defence in court, President Jacob Zuma told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday.

Zuma was responding to questions when DA MP from the Free State George Michalakis asked whether he intends to make fresh representations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering against him before the deadline of November 30, 2017.

Zuma said there were 18 charges currently before the NPA and he was taking legal advice on the matter.

Michalakis asked how much his legal fees have cost the country.

Chairperson of the NCOP Thandi Modise said Michalakis' follow-up question was not relevant to the original question.

DA MP from Mpumalanga Farhat Essack said since the dawn of democracy, the country had never had a president face so many court cases. He said that Zuma refused to answer the question about his legal costs in the National Assembly earlier this month.

"How can you in good conscience continue to take this money of our country?" asked Essack.

Again the question was disallowed.

DA goes to court 'for anything'

DA MP from the Western Cape Jaco Londt, whose seat is right next to Zuma when he is behind the NCOP podium, said: "It seems you don't want to give answers to South Africa."

"The matters are in court for such a long time - not because of me," Zuma replied.

"I'm not responsible for that. I have not taken myself to court!" said Zuma.

He said the DA goes to court "for anything" and that costs the state money.

"If you take someone to court, you know they must defend themselves."

He said if that individual is in government, then by law, the government pays. "Not my problem," he added.

'You are just wasting time'

DA MP from Gauteng Jacques Julius said last year when Zuma answered questions in the NCOP he "misrepresented the facts" when he said the former Public Protector didn't allow him to make representations to her regarding state capture, only for the tapes of his conversation with her to emerge.

"Hu-hu-hmm," chuckled Zuma.

Julius said the country didn't have money for students, healthcare and housing, but there seemed to be a bottomless pit for Zuma's legal fees.

"Will you commit to paying your own legal fees?" asked Julius.

Zuma again explained that the state covers the legal fees of government officials.

"I'm not going to pay from my own pocket."

Zuma said the court cases were "provoked by the DA".

"You are just wasting time because you have nothing else to say that is substantial," he said.

Source: News24

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