‘Win or lose, state should pay Zuma legal bills’ – Nephew

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Former president Jacob Zuma will not be able to repay the state if he loses his corruption case, his nephew Simphiwe Zuma has told The Star.

On Sunday, Simphiwe said the state should pay for Zuma’s legal bills – whether he wins or not – as the allegations against him were brought against him while he was carrying out official duties as the president of the country.

“It confuses me when they say he must pay back the legal fees if he loses the case.

“Where is Zuma going to get such a huge amount of money to pay back the state?

“Whatever he did, he did it while he was employed by the government. Therefore, the government must fund his legal expenses without expecting a refund,” Simphiwe contended.

He said the family were yet to meet to discuss Zuma’s trial.

“By the look of it, the case will take years to be finalised, and it is going to be very expensive. I will meet Zuma on Tuesday,” Simphiwe said.

He added he was not aware of any business people who were willing to help Zuma financially.

Simphiwe said when Zuma was forced to resign, the family had hoped that he would spend his retirement time with them.

“It pains us that such things (trial) are happening.”

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament that on Thursday he would provide answers on the legal basis for the state to foot Zuma’s legal bill in his case related to the arms deal.

The office of the State Attorney had revealed that R15.3million was incurred on behalf of Zuma in connection with the spy tapes report.

Ramaphosa also said there was an agreement between Zuma and the government that the former president would pay if he loses the case.

Opposition parties are set to take the agreement entered into between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki to court, if Ramaphosa continues to fulfil it.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation on Sunday said the former president would not at this stage comment on the agreement.

Mbeki’s spokesperson Thami Ntenteni said they would ask Ramaphosa to lead the process on the legal bill matter and give an answer like he did in Parliament.

“Mr Mbeki is no longer the president, so it would be premature to express a view on this matter.

“The current president of the country is already dealing with this matter, so at this stage there is nothing that links him (Mbeki).

“Whatever decision he (Mbeki) may have taken on this issue at the time, he would have done that as the president of the country. Now the Presidency will deal with it,” Ntenteni said.

Titi