In a separate case, Judge Mlambo also ruled that Mr Zuma had been unreasonable in trying to use the courts to block the publication of an explosive official report into high-level corruption, known as state capture.
The court found the president must institute a commission of inquiry into state capture within 30 days of the ruling.
This latest encounter with the courts came as a result of the president's legal challenge over the right of the public protector to call for a judicial inquiry and the appointment by the chief justice of a judge to head it. Zuma argued it was the president's prerogative whether such an inquiry should be set up. Importantly, the court found that the tax payer can not be burdened with paying the costs of the unreasonable and unnecessary litigation.The costs of the litigation are to be calculated from 14 October 2016.
The DA's James Selfe says it's the first time that a sitting president has been ordered by a court to personally be liable for his own errors.
In an historic ruling, Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo and Judge Danie Fourie ruled that Zuma was "ill advised and reckless" in launching applications to stop the release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela's State of Capture report and to overturn the remedial action - and that the public should not be made to foot the large legal bill. He said she might "insist, not publicly, that Zuma steps down in 2018".
Trump wants Washington Post reporter fired for misleading tweet
She said in a statement: " Dave Weigel relied on an inaccurate image in tweeting about President Trump's rally in Pensacola. Trump in recent days has taken advantage of a handful of journalistic errors to take aim at specific reporters and outlets.
"In my view, a simple punitive costs order is not sufficient.as the taxpayer will carry that burden".
The judge found that Zuma was compromised, and had a "clear personal interest in the outcome of the inquiry", and was at the center of the state capture report. "Zuma failed on that account and his party protected him on that regard".
COPE leader Mosioua Lekota said Zuma has been acting as the law unto himself and said the blame should be squarely placed before the entire leadership of the ANC.
"These judgments are about the president's attempt to frustrate criminal investigations against him over state capture and corruption. That was confirmed by the Constitutional Court in the Nkandla matter‚" he charged.