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Zuma acted ‘maliciously’, should be ordered to pay commission’s legal costs, says lawyer

Former president Jacob Zuma.

Former president Jacob Zuma.

Gallo Images/Sowetan/Thulie Dlamini

  • The State Capture Inquiry wants Jacob Zuma to pay its legal costs in the contempt case against him.
  • The Constitutional Court heard the matter on Thursday morning. 
  • The inquiry also wants Zuma to be jailed for two years. 

The State Capture Inquiry wants former president Jacob Zuma to be ordered to pay its legal costs in the contempt case against him, in addition to being jailed for two years. 

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the inquiry, told the Constitutional Court on Thursday that Zuma was acting with malice. 

“The utterances that Mr Zuma has made are malicious utterances. He is also acting without any facts,” he said. 

“Mr Zuma completely disregards any evidence. He just launches on an attack that is completely bereft of fact. Once you combine the malice and the untruthfulness, it becomes clear that a normal cost order is not sufficient,” he said. 

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“He should pay a punitive cost order – attorney and client – that would be an appropriate penalty, in addition to sending him to jail for two years,” he said.  

However, Justice Leona Theron said a punitive cost order was usually granted against a litigant, so the court can show its disapproval for the manner in which that party had litigated. 

She said, in this case, Zuma had not opposed the proceedings.  

Responding, Ngcukaitobi said: 

“Justice Theron, that, itself, is a contempt against a former president, that, itself, is warranting against a punitive cost order because what this court deserves at least is an explanation. It did not even get an explanation, and that failure to provide an explanation is simply part and parcel of the malicious behaviour of Mr Zuma.”

He said the former president’s malicious conduct includes his failure to give the court an explanation about his attacks against the judiciary. 

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After the former president was called upon to explain himself, he decided “he won’t explain himself”, Ngcukaitobi said. 

He told the court the institutional integrity of the judicial system needed to be protected. 

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