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President Jacob Zuma has until the end of business on Thursday to acknowledge or oppose a court order that he be held responsible for legal costs incurred in his application to stop the Office of the Public Protector (Ombudsman) from releasing the former Public Protector's "State of Capture" report.

On Wednesday last week, Judge President Dunston Mlambo gave Zuma and his legal team seven working days to give reasons why he should not be held liable for the costs after Zuma withdrew his application and the report was subsequently released.

The report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela concerns the exercise of undue influence ov the president in appointments, including to the Cabinet by the Gupta family, an Indian South African family with widespread business interests

Legal expert Llewellyn Curlewis said Wednesday that should the president fail to explain himself by end of business on Thursday that would automatically imply he is liable for costs, which Curlewis said could be not less than a million rand (about 74,400 US dollars).

"If he does not comply, the judge will obviously in all probability use his own discretion in favour of the other party against President Zuma and order that he pay out of his pocket," said Curlewis.

"If they file the opposing papers, they might persuade the judge not order that he pays out of his own pocket. Then the taxpayers will obviously pay for the waste of the application.

"But one will always expect the judge to rule that the person who was directly responsible for the waste of cost to pay for the waste of costs."


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