President Cyril Ramaphosa's office on Thursday said it would abide by a court order setting aside an agreement between the presidency and former president Jacob Zuma to pay for his legal fees.
"The Presidency has noted the judgment of the North Gauteng High Court on the personal legal costs of former President Jacob Zuma. The Presidency specifically notes the court’s interpretation of the applicable law," a statement from the president's office said.
"The Presidency will abide by the court’s decision, in line with a notice to this effect filed with the court in May 2018."
Earlier on Thursday, the high court in Pretoria ordered the state attorney to take all necessary steps, including the institution of civil proceedings to recover the money spent on paying for Zuma's legal fees.
"The state attorney is directed within three months of the date of this order, to file a report, under oath and supported by the full and complete accounting ... detailing the steps that have been taken and that will be taken to recover the amounts paid by the state for Mr Zuma's legal costs," Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba said in the judgement.
Ledwaba said the state should not be held liable for Zuma's fees, both in criminal and civil matters.
The application to have Zuma pay back the money was brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) which was later joined by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
The state had spent some R15.3-million for Zuma's legal fees to defend allegations of impropriety levelled against him over the years. The fees were incurred as far back as 2006, during Zuma's criminal prosecution in the so-called spy tapes matter.