Mr. Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), has warned ex- President Jacob Zuma to repay the $1.3 million of public money to avoid going to jail.
Mr Maimane says the figure was confirmed by the State Attorney.
It has since emerged that under Zuma, the Presidency paid out millions of rand on legal costs relating to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to drop charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him.
The figure was revealed in a letter sent to DA on Tuesday by the State Attorney.
The State Attorney said the office was instructed by new President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide the details after having considered the court approach.
“We are instructed to inform you that since May 1, 2009 an amount of R15,300,250 was incurred by the Presidency on legal costs pertaining to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to decline to prosecute Mr Zuma on charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering.”
Mr Maimane added that Mr Zuma must personally repay the public funds as he went to court in his personal capacity, for crimes allegedly committed before he became president.
“He (Zuma) was not a respondent in that case in his capacity as president of the Republic of South Africa. As such, this amounts to R15.3m of irregular spending by the government to keep Jacob Zuma out of jail. Therefore, Jacob Zuma must personally pay back this money.
The DA has consulted our legal team and begun the legal process of retrieving every cent of this R15.3m from Jacob Zuma,” Mr Maimane said.
DA has already began a legal process to ensure that “every cent” paid out so far is retrieved from Mr Zuma and he has invited President Ramaphosa to join the legal action.
Mr Zuma faces 783 counts of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.