Former president Jacob Zuma says he is being "unfairly punished" for wanting to challenge former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's State of Capture report, and being forced to pay the legal costs of the state capture cases "poses a significant burden on me personally", Times Select reported.
Zuma is facing a legal cost battle on two fronts: on Friday, he will appear in the Durban High Court on fraud and corruption charges, while issues around who will fund his legal defence remain unresolved. His lawyers are expected to ask for a postponement on Friday so that the issue can be resolved, following court challenges by the EFF and the DA seeking to overturn a 2006 agreement which sees government paying Zuma's legal fees unless he is found guilty.
This week, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams declined Zuma's request to stay his prosecution until the issue is resolved.
But he is also fighting a decision by the North Gauteng High Court that he has to pay the legal costs of his aborted attempt to stop the release of Madonselas's state of capture report. The costs are estimated to be R10-million, IOL reported. In March, the presidency decided not to pursue an appeal of that decision, initiated while Zuma was still in office.
According to Times Select, Zuma wants the court to grant him the right to appeal both the legal costs judgment and his failed bid to have the State of Capture report reviewed in court. He reportedly said in court papers, "I would have liked to intervene way before the application for leave to appeal was withdrawn by the Office of the President of the Republic of South Africa. That I do not agree with the withdrawal of the application for leave to appeal by the current president is not relevant for present purposes."
While he reportedly believes there are grounds for the presidency to challenge Madonsela's report, Zuma says he "is advised that it would be improper for me to now second-guess the decision of the president in this regard."
Zuma maintains Madonsela's recommendations, specifically that the Chief Justice, not the president, be the one to appoint the chairperson into the commission of inquiry into state capture, is unconstitutional.