Taxpayers have had to fork out over R1 million for former communications minister Dina Pule’s legal fees, her successor Yunus Carrim revealed on Friday.
“The total legal costs incurred thus far in respect of these matters amount to R1,187,148.82,” Carrim said in written reply to a parliamentary question.
Marian Shinn of the Democratic Alliance asked Carrim how much the department had had to pay for Pule’s legal teams in her cases against the Sunday Times at the press ombudsman, her defence during Parliament’s ethics committee probe, and her lawyers’ fees during an investigation by the public protector.
It also emerged the legal bill could rise even further.
“Some legal costs are still payable but are unknown at this stage,” Carrim said.
Pule was axed from Cabinet in July, amid allegations of misconduct against her.
Last month, Parliament’s ethics committee found Pule had “wilfully misled” Parliament by denying her romantic relationship with a man who allegedly made millions from sponsorship deals with her former department.
In June, she also lost a battle against the Sunday Times, which she accused of acting unethically by handing over information to DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard, and accused the newspaper of thereby having lost its independence in favour of the DA.
This was the same information used to launch the ethics probe into Pule.
The press ombudsman also found against Pule.