With President Jacob Zuma's job on the line, opposition parties the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Congress of the People (Cope) are worried that he will not have the money to pay for his "State Of Capture" court appeal.
The parties have filed a security for costs application, demanding that Zuma pay R1-million up front before the appeal can be heard.
"The applicant [Zuma] is also facing a real prospect of impeachment and/or removal from office and/or criminal prosecution within the next few weeks or months – each of which may have prospects of severely and adversely affecting his ability to pay his costs liabilities in the likely event of the application for leave to appeal and/or appeal itself being unsuccessful," the UDM and Cope state in their papers.
On December 13, a full bench of the High Court in Pretoria unanimously found that Zuma's application to have former public protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendations on alleged state capture reviewed was ill-advised and reckless.
UDM and Cope say legal costs in President Zuma's bid to interdict release of State Capture report are "more than R5million". The costs of his actual #StateCapture review will be far more.— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) January 24, 2018
He has to personally pay this.
Parties want guarantee he'll pay up if he loses appeal. pic.twitter.com/NmZxZil8W1
Zuma lost his application for the review and setting aside of the recommended remedial actions contained in Madonsela's "State Of Capture" report, which also called for Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to choose the head of a commission of inquiry into state capture.
Zuma has since appealed the costs order, as well as the order regarding the duty of the president to appoint a commission of inquiry. The parties argue that Zuma's appeal is a further "abuse of the process of the court".
While Zuma has since appointed a commission of inquiry in compliance with the court order, he said in a statement: "I have only appealed the orders to the extent that they set a particular precedent for the office of the president of the republic and are indeed deserving of legal certainty.
"The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners, the people of South Africa, [are] of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty.
"Accordingly, I have decided that while the issues determined by the order require final determination by higher courts, this matter cannot wait any longer."
The opposition parties said: "The application for leave to appeal is an extension of the reckless conduct identified in the judgment."
Cope and the UDM claim Zuma already owes them R5-million for the previous court challenge that he lost. The other respondents in the case are the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the public protector and MP Vytjie Mentor.
UDM and Cope have warned that, if Zuma fails to pay up, they will go to court to stop his appeal.