DA SMS ‘fair comment’

— The Herald PE (@HeraldPE) April 4, 2014

An SMS the DA sent to over 1.5 million prospective Gauteng voters accusing President Jacob Zuma of stealing public money was fair comment, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Friday (04/04/14).

Acting Judge Mike Hellens, who had heard arguments on Wednesday from both the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance, said the ANC’s application was dismissed with costs.

The SMS stated: “The Nkandla report shows how Zuma stole your money to build his R246m home. Vote DA on 7 May to beat corruption. Together for change.”

The ruling party wanted the DA to retract the SMS, stop sending it and apologise, or be fined up to R200 000.

During arguments on Wednesday Gcina Malindi, for the African National Congress, argued the SMS was in contravention of the Electoral Act and Code of Conduct.

The ANC argued that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela never said Zuma had stolen or concluded that he stole taxpayers’ money.

Ismail Jamie, for the Democratic Alliance, argued his client had not stated that Madonsela’s report had said Zuma stole taxpayers’ money. He said it “showed” he stole public funds to build his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal home.

A reasonable person could conclude from Madonsela’s report that the president stole from the public, he said.

In her “Secure in Comfort” report released last month, Madonsela found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from security upgrades to his private Nkandla home.

– SAPA

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