Former South African president Jacob Zuma appears at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, South Africa April 6, 2018. Nic Bothma/Reuters

Former President Jacob Zuma will have to cover his own legal costs and pay back the state funds he used to fight all his civil and criminal matters in the last decade.

The High Court in Pretoria handed down a unanimous judgment on Thursday morning.

The State Attorney’s office has been ordered to compile a full and complete record of all Zuma’s legal fees and recover them.

So far, the state has paid between R15m and R32m in legal costs for Zuma, and it has said it will continue to fund his defence until the 2008 agreement is reviewed and set aside by a court.

The DA and the EFF had asked the court for a declaratory order that it was illegal to pay Zuma’s legal fees and to order the state attorney to determine how much money was paid in the process and then recover it from Zuma — if needs be through civil court action.

Earlier in 2018, Zuma pleaded poverty.

In March, Michael Hulley, who has since been fired as Zuma’s lawyer, said that without state funding, the former president would not have the means to defend himself in court. This was despite Zuma receiving a lifelong salary as a former head of state. Since then Zuma has replaced his entire legal team.

In the agreement Zuma signed with the presidency, he will pay back the money if he is convicted.

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering stemming from 783 alleged payments to him in relation to the arms deal when he was KwaZulu-Natal MEC of economic affairs and tourism. Charges were dropped in 2009 and reinstated earlier in 2018.

The former president has now lodged an application for a permanent stay of prosecution. He appeared in court in November, and the matter was postponed to May 20.

Zuma, his son Duduzane and the controversial Gupta family are at the heart of state-capture allegations that resulted in the establishment of the Zondo commission of inquiry.

In November, the high court in Pretoria dismissed Zuma’s bid to appeal against a costs order made against him in his personal capacity when he approached the court to review the State of Capture report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

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