Recent developments reveal that former South African President Jacob Zuma is actively consulting with his legal team in response to the government’s initiative to recover approximately R29 million spent on his defence in the arms deal corruption case. The Presidency and the State Attorney jointly approached the Pretoria High Court this month to seek reimbursement for the substantial amount expended by the state on Zuma’s legal representation.
This legal pursuit stems from a 2018 court order from the same jurisdiction, directing the State Attorney to recoup the funds. The court ruling clarified that the state was not liable for covering the legal costs incurred by Zuma in his personal capacity. Despite Zuma’s attempt to appeal this decision, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed his application in 2021.
According to the papers filed last week Wednesday by State Attorney Isaac Chowe, the total amount sought for repayment is R28,960,774. This sum allegedly represents the state’s financial contributions between September 2005 and January 2019, covering “legal and associated services for and on behalf of [Jacob] Zuma in his personal capacity in the criminal proceedings and related civil proceedings.”
Mzwanele Manyi, spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, indicated that Zuma is carefully considering his options. Manyi explained, “We saw the notice of motion, and also part of that notice of motion says something about 30 days for any opposition to the motion. So President Zuma’s got 30 days to indicate his attitude. In the meantime, he’ll be consulting with his lawyers, and at the appropriate time, he’ll make his position clear.”
Simultaneously, the arms deal case remains in a state of suspension, pending the outcome of an application filed by Zuma to have State advocate Billy Downer removed from the prosecution team. As Zuma navigates these legal challenges, the intricate legal landscape surrounding the former president’s case continues to evolve.