It was appropriate for state to pay Zuma’s ‘spy tapes’ legal fees, says Ramaphosa
The state was right to pick up former president Jacob Zuma’s legal fees‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
In a statement — which came as a promise to the EFF following last week’s question and answer session in Parliament — Ramaphosa confirmed that because the allegations against Zuma came while he was in the employ of government‚ the state was right to fund the legal fees.
According to his reply during the session‚ the legal costs in the so-called spy tapes matter came to R15.3m.
On Thursday‚ Ramaphosa said section 3(3) of the State Attorney Act was used when determining whether or not the government should fund Zuma’s legal fees. "Treasury Regulations" were also taken into account.
"The acts on the basis of which it is alleged that the former president committed criminal offences took place during his tenure as a government official both at provincial and later at national level.
"In addition‚ the Department of Justice considered section 12.2.2 of the then applicable Treasury Regulations‚ issued in terms of the Public Finance Management Act‚ 1999‚ read with section 3(1) of the State Attorney Act‚ as providing for an obligation to refund the state if any loss was found to be incurred when an official was acting outside the course and scope of his employment.
"For this reason‚ the state attorney decided that it was appropriate to grant the request of the former president‚ subject to the condition that he make an undertaking to refund monies thus spent should it be found that he acted in his personal capacity and own interest in the commission of the alleged offences‚" he said.
Zuma gave that undertaking.