The people who have funded President Jacob Zuma’s legal game to avoid being charged for fraud, corruption and racketeering – read taxpayers – have no idea how much they have been throwing in the sea on the top man’s behalf.
Now the DA has served the president with papers regarding his failure to answer a Parliamentary question put to him by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, about how much public money has been spent on avoiding the 783 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him.
James Selfe, the DA Federal Council Chairperson, says by avoiding the question, the DA believes that both the President, and the Deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, presiding at the time who allowed President Zuma to avoid the question, acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally.
“For more than eight years, taxpayers’ money has been used to pay for the President’s legal costs in the so-called ‘Spy-Tapes’ case. Given that the taxpayer has most likely footed the bill for the President’s legal costs, the full amount spent should be revealed, in the public interest,” says Selfe.
The question posed at the time was specific and straightforward but Zuma refused to answer and the Deputy Speaker refused to require him to answer it.
The DA now says Sections 42 (3) and 55 of the Constitution sets out that the National Assembly has a responsibility to hold the Executive to account, and that it must provide mechanisms to ensure accountability. Parliamentary questions are one such mechanism.
The National Assembly Rules set out how often the President should appear to answer questions and the Executive Ethics code makes it clear, in its General Standards, that members of the executive must adhere to certain standards and that no member may mislead those who they are accountable to.
Both the President and the Deputy Speaker have failed in their responsibility to uphold the Constitution and to account properly.
The DA have therefore asked the court to direct the President to confirm, in writing to the National Assembly, the total amount spent on all legal costs in respect of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to drop 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him, within five days.