Johannesburg - The ANC and its alliance partner Cosatu
lost key court battles on Friday, with a little more than a month to go before
the general election.
The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg dismissed
the ANC's application against a SMS sent out by the DA accusing President Jacob
Zuma of stealing public funds to upgrade his Nkandla home.
The court also set aside the suspension of Cosatu general
secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
The outcomes in both cases were welcomed by political
parties and trade unions.
The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) said the court findings
were a serious blow to the ANC.
"These two judgments offer the opportunity to expose
the ANC for that which they truly are, and for the voters to take a decision in
favour of a better future for South Africa on 7 May," said FF Plus leader
"The reinstatement of Vavi as the general secretary
of Cosatu will definitely reveal the cracks in the ANC and Cosatu's
A split in Cosatu could have far-reaching consequences
for the ANC, Mulder said.
Acting Judge Mike Hellens ruled that the DA's SMS was
"The totality of the [public protector's] findings
speak of an untrammelled and uncontrolled, or substantially uncontrolled,
access to public funds to benefit, without adequate lawful authority, the state
president," Hellens said in his judgment.
Last month, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that
Zuma and his family unduly benefited from R246m in security upgrades to his
private home in KwaZulu-Natal.
The DA said in its SMS: "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 ANC said it felt Hellens had erred in dismissing the
application and ignoring the Electoral Act.
The DA welcomed the judgment as victory for freedom of
In the Vavi matter, Deputy Judge President Phineas
Mojapelo found that Cosatu breached its constitution when it suspended Vavi.
"They did not vote when a vote was prescribed. No
valid decision was taken in those circumstances," he said in his judgment.
"The decision... is declared invalid... and
accordingly set aside."
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), which
had initiated the court application for Vavi's reinstatement welcomed the
judgment. Numsa members inside the court room cheered on Friday when Mojapelo
concluded his judgment.
"[The judgment] has vindicated our long-standing
belief that the suspension was politically engineered to undo the democratic
choice of worker delegates... who, in September 2012, democratically elected
comrade Vavi," deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said outside the
"While we are relieved that this costly, but
avoidable court battle is over, we hope the Cosatu leadership will have the
political and organisational discipline to respect the decision of the court
and abide by it fully."
Vavi's wife Noluthando told reporters she felt justice
had been done.
She was in court on Friday, but her husband was not
because his daughter had been involved in a car accident in Queenstown, Eastern
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union
(Nehawu), which supported Cosatu's decision to suspend Vavi, said it would
consult with its legal advisers and Cosatu leaders about appealing the
Cosatu is expected to discuss the way forward at a
special central executive committee meeting on Tuesday.