Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma

Former South African president Jacob Zuma said on Sunday he will appeal a court ruling that bars the state from funding legal fees in his criminal defence litigation.

Zuma took to Twitter to make the announcement after the North Gauteng High Court ruled on December 13 that Zuma must pay the legal fees for his pending cases.

The court said that if the state is burdened with the high legal costs of public office bearers charged with fraud and corruption, the taxpayer bears the burden and poor communities continue to be denied services.

The court also ordered Zuma to pay back the money already incurred by the state in his criminal defence litigation.

The state has spent up to 30 million rand (about two million U.S. dollars) on Zuma’s legal fees over the past 13 years, according to the court.

Zuma tweeted on Sunday that he has instructed his lawyers to appeal the court ruling.

He said one of the reasons for his decision to appeal the ruling is that many leaders in high positions during apartheid were charged, but the state paid for their cases.

There needs to be consistency in the way these kinds of cases are handled, he said.

Zuma said he respects the ruling by the court, but sometimes evidence presented in a case “needs to be looked at again.”

Zuma, who resigned in February, faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering.

An agreement was signed by the Presidency in 2006 to pay legal costs Zuma incurred for his criminal prosecution.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) filed papers at the North Gauteng High Court in late March, asking the Presidency to set aside the agreement.

Following the court ruling, the Presidency said it will abide by the court’s decision barring the state to continue paying for Zuma’s legal fees. Enditem

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