Public representatives should pay own legal costs – COSATU

Federation says those who waste taxpayer's money on frivolous legal challenges should be forced to pay it back

COSATU statement on the government’s frivolous legal challenges 

3 November 2016

The Congress of South African Trade Unions totally denounces the wasteful expenditure of taxpayer’s money by public representatives on frivolous legal challenges. Our public representatives have become vexatious litigants, abusing the legal processes to defend the indefensible at times. We support the sentiments and suggestions that all those, who are wasting taxpayers’ money in frivolous legal challenges should be made to pay it back from their own pockets. The South African government under this administration at all levels has been a pot of gold and a boom for the legal fraternity. 

It has become a norm for government representatives to pay lawyers to go to court to fight matters on legally unsound grounds. Whilst, we support the right of individuals to exercise their right to make use of the legal processes, we do not believe that they should be allowed to abuse taxpayer’s money in the process. Legal advisers, who continuously give unsound legal advice, should be removed from the state payroll and public representatives who want to defend themselves from allegations of corruption and impropriety should pay from their own pockets.

We have seen ministers and MEC’s using courts to stop settlement payments to the victims of medical malpractice and police brutality .The legal system is not a tool for politicians to hide their nefarious activities and for grey bureaucrats to hide their mediocrity and incompetence.  We cannot allow our tax monies to be wasted when millions of South Africans are going hungry every day.   

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, 3 November 2016