Zuma to appeal R10m court costs order

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: File
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: File

Former president Jacob Zuma is going to the High Court in Pretoria this week to appeal a ruling ordering him to personally pay R10 million for challenging the remedial action of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

Zuma unsuccessfully sought to prevent the release of the report and review parts of it.

In a notice served on the Office of the Public Protector, the DA, Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement and Congress of the People, Council for Advancement of the South African Constitution as well as Vytjie Mentor, Zuma’s lawyer Daniel Mantsha said the former president was applying for leave to appeal the ruling in his personal capacity.

United Democratic Movement’s lawyer Eric Mabuza told City Press the case would be heard on Thursday.

Mantsha’s notice said Zuma would be appealing the ruling on three grounds.

These include that “the court erred in law in holding that the president was ill-advised and reckless in launching the challenge against remedial action of the Public Protector”.

Mantsha further argues that the court also erred in ordering Zuma to “pay the costs of the application when he was not cited in his personal capacity or given an opportunity to explain his conduct and to do so on a punitive scale”.

And according to Zuma’s lawyers, in bringing the review application, the former president sought to approach the court “as a branch of government, to resolve the application of doctrine of separation of powers”.

In December last year, the High Court in Pretoria delivered a scathing judgment against the then president, finding that Zuma acted “in flagrant disregard” of the Public Protector’s constitutional duties.

Delivering the judgment on behalf of a full bench, Judge Dunstan Mlambo said Zuma tried “to stymie the fulfilment of a constitutional obligation by the office of the Public Protector” in delaying the State of Capture report and ordered Zuma to personally pay the costs of the case.

The court also found that Zuma engaged in “clear abuse of judicial process”, was “grossly remiss” as a litigant, and his approach had “no acceptable basis in law and in fact”.

Judge Mlambo said Zuma’s behaviour warranted not only a punitive cost order, but an order that precluded taxpayers from paying the costs of the case on his behalf.

In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa withdrew the presidency’s application for leave to appeal the judgment, leaving Zuma to do it on his own.

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