Mmusi Maimane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The DA says President Jacob Zuma’s failure to say how much of taxpayers’ money was spent fighting his corruption charges is unlawful and unconstitutional.

In the latest legal battle facing the embattled president, the DA has filed papers in the Western Cape High Court. The party wants the conduct of Zuma and Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, who presided over a National Assembly question-and-answer session, declared unlawful and unconstitutional.

The party also wants the court to direct Zuma to answer the question in writing within five days.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked Zuma during the question-and-answer session in the National Assembly two weeks ago for the total amount of all legal costs incurred by the Presidency for the 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him. After an eight-year legal battle, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that the 2009 decision to drop charges against Zuma was irrational.

The president has until the end of November to make fresh representations to the National Prosecuting Authority on why he should not face the charges.

In the most recent court papers, DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said it was estimated that Zuma’s legal fees exceeded R10m, with the matter heard in court no fewer than six times over eight years.

"It appears that it is the public purse that has borne all or most of these costs involved, rather than the president in his personal capacity," Selfe said.

When Zuma was asked the question in Parliament, he said the "litigation was not at the instance of the president, but was initiated by the political party" and he had defended it as he was entitled to.

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