Court orders Zuma to personally pay costs


Zodidi Mhlana 

JOHANNESBURG- The North Gauteng high court has ordered president Jacob Zuma to personally pay the costs of his failed attempt to interdict the release of State of Capture report last year.

Delivering his judgement on Wednesday morning, judge President Dustan Mlambo said: “He is ordered to personally pay the costs.

Late last year, Zuma abandoned his bid to interdict the release of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report during the second day of the court proceedings.

This prompted opposition parties to take the matter to court to demand that Zuma pay personal costs for his failed bid in interdicting the release of the report.

Judge Mlambo said that the president’s actions were unnecessary.

“It was unreasonable for the president to continue with his stance that the report was not final and unreasonable no to seek clarification from the Public Protector,” Mlambo ruled.

Reacting to the ruling, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that Zuma had sought to abuse the legal system to save his own skin.

“The court has said the president is an irrational litigant. I call him a delinquent litigant – somebody who has no legal basis but acting in self-preservation as one is a criminal. It can only be described in that way. I think the courts today have put their foot down, saying Jacob Zuma must be personally liable, not the taxpayer. It is the right judgement, and we welcome it,” Maimane told reporters at the court.

“Ultimately JZ must stop delaying South Africans, he must pay personally and that report on state capture,  the courts will ensure that in the second half of this court [session],  a judicial commission of inquiry is instituted.”

Delivering a unanimous judgment on behalf of a full bench of high court judges, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said the stance adopted by Zuma in 2016 on the status of the report was “completely unreasonable”.

Mlambo said there was no basis for Zuma’s application to interdict the release of the report.

“The president’s persistence to continue with the application [for an interdict against the public protector] amounts to abuse of judicial process,” said Mlambo.

The court briefly adjourned after the ruling.

With African News Agency (ANA) & Reuters