Taxpayers are not just funding the more than half a billion rand operations of the Zondo inquiry, they are also paying the legal fees of some witnesses and implicated officials, including former president Jacob Zuma. In almost all of these cases, there is no guarantee that the office-bearers will be required to pay back the money if they are found by the state capture inquiry to have acted outside the scope of their official duties. The inquiry, which was set up to investigate the abuse of procurement by government departments and state-owned enterprises for personal benefit, has so far largely heard evidence focusing on the Gupta family, who have close links with Zuma and his son Duduzane; facilities management company Bosasa and the Watson family; and Eskom. It has also heard evidence on Zuma’s attempts to push through a nuclear deal that the government could not afford. The state attorney’s office has confirmed that the government was funding the legal costs of former public ente...

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