President Jacob Zuma might have to fork out as much as R1.5m in legal fees for delaying the release of the state capture report.
Reacting to a judgment on the issue on Wednesday, which ruled that Zuma be held personally liable for legal costs, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he expected the costs to be at least R1.5m.
"I think the courts today are putting their foot down, saying Zuma must be personally liable not the taxpayer. It's the right judgment and we welcome it. Zuma must stop delaying South Africans. He must pay personally," he said.
Maimane advised Zuma to ask his friends, the Guptas, for a loan.
Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo read out the historic ruling, by a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.
In the judgment, the court found that a simple punitive costs order would make the taxpayer liable for the costs of Zuma's legal pursuit against the release of the State of Capture report.
The court further found that Zuma had abused the judicial process in his lengthy pursuit to halt the report from being released.
"The conduct of the president and the context of the litigation he initiated requires a sterner rebuke," said Mlambo.
Mlambo found that Zuma had no acceptable basis in law to attempt to stymie the fulfilment of the constitutional obligation of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Quoting a prior judgment against a Gauteng MEC, Mlambo read that "it was time [for] courts to seriously consider holding officials, who behave in a high-handed manner, personally liable for costs incurred".
In the further damning ruling against Zuma, Mlambo said the president's application was based on "self-created urgency".
"Simply put, the president had become aware some six months before his abortive application that the Public Protector was in possession of complaints implicating him in serious misconduct, and he did nothing when he was invited to comment."