President Jacob Zuma's legal fees are almost as high as the amount he had to pay back for the Nkandla upgrades, at R6-million, the DA estimates. According to The Times, this is a conservative estimate by the party, which includes its own expenses in the State of Capture court case.
This week, the High Court in Pretoria ordered Zuma to pay the legal costs of opposition parties who brought the case in an effort to get him to implement the Public Protector's recommendations in her State of Capture report.
Zuma tried to interdict the release of the report but later abandoned this bid. At the time, EFF leader Julius Malema told eNCA: "We are putting a very strong argument that Zuma must pay the costs personally... once the costs are from Zuma's pocket, then all ministers are going to learn to take advice, all ministers are going to learn not to take hasty decisions out of anger, and out of emotions."
The court rejected Zuma's argument that the former public protector Thuli Madonsela had breached the separation of powers doctrine when she recommended that the Chief Justice should appoint the judge who will head the state capture commission of inquiry.
Zuma had abused the judicial process and had disregarded the constitutional duties of the public protector, the court reportedly ruled.
On Thursday, Maimane reportedly said: "For too long, South Africans have been personally paying the extravagant legal bill of a president who, instead of leading a country, spends most of his days in court."
Zuma has until 12 January 2018 to establish the commission of inquiry.
According to The Times, Maimane said this was the first time a president was required to pay the costs of litigation out of his own pocket.
"On a conservative estimate, taking into consideration the DA's own expenses on this matter, we estimate the total cost the president is liable for at roughly R6-million, which is comparable to his court-ordered payment of the Nkandla nonsecurity upgrades." Zuma was ordered to pay over R7-million for the upgrades.
"This figure comprises an estimate of R4.45-million for litigants who brought the action, as well as R1.5-million that was paid to his own legal team. The court did not expressly require the president to pay his own legal costs, as these are covered by the state attorney. However, we will be pressuring the president to personally pay these costs, since it is unconscionable that the taxpayers should have to pick up the tab for his frivolous litigation," Maimane reportedly said.