NEWS
25/05/2018 06:42 SAST | Updated 25/05/2018 06:42 SAST

Justice Department Won't Support Zuma In Legal Fees Case

Now the state attorney says it will abide by the court's decision on whether or not the state should keep paying Zuma's legal fees.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma is seen at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, South Africa April 6, 2018.
POOL New / Reuters
Former South African president Jacob Zuma is seen at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, South Africa April 6, 2018.

Former president Jacob Zuma is fast running out of options when it comes to funding his legal fees. TimesLive reported on Thursday night that the Department of Justice has said it will not support Zuma in his legal bid to have government continue to pay his fees.

The State Attorney reportedly wrote in papers filed at the High Court on May 21 that it will abide by the court's ruling when it decides on the applications by the EFF and the DA, that government should stop funding Zuma's legal defence.

The papers reportedly cite the minister of justice, Michael Masutha, and his director-general.

Zuma's long-time ally in his court battles and attorney, Michael Hulley, terminated the brief of advocates who previously helped Zuma, according to News24. While Hulley himself has not resigned, he reportedly said he had to stop the briefs of counsel "because of the uncertainty around fees".

Zuma is reportedly arguing that the state should keep paying his fees as he tries to fend off corruption charges related to the 1999 arms deal, because of a 2006 agreement that government would do so unless he was found guilty.

The Presidency also said it would abide by the court's decision on the matter last week.

According to eNCA, the Presidency also said it would submit an explanatory affidavit to the court to help it understand the history, rationale and legal basis for the 2006 agreement.

Last week, Zuma missed a deadline to file papers to review the decision by the NPA to pursue the corruption charges against him. According to TimesLive, this is probably because of the uncertainty over who will pay his legal fees.

Zuma appeared in court on corruption charges in April, and the case was postponed until June 8, according to TimesLive, after an agreement was reached by both parties. Advocate Billy Downer, for the state, reportedly said at the time that there were several outstanding issues that had to be resolved before the trial could proceed.

This reportedly includes Zuma's application to review the decision to charge him. The postponement until June 8 was reportedly so that Zuma could finalise his review application.

The state has reportedly said it is ready for the trial to proceed in November.