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Court dismisses ANC's SMS application

2014-04-04 11:41

Johannesburg - 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 South Gauteng High Court ruled on Friday.

Acting Judge Mike Hellens, who heard arguments on Wednesday by the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance, dismissed the ANC's application with costs.

"The use of the phrase... 'licence to loot'... comes very close to the wording 'stole' used in... the SMS.... I do not find a case has been brought by the applicant for the declaratory order sought by it."

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane was mobbed by DA supporters, who cheered when they were told about the decision.

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

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."

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.

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Read more on: da  |  anc  |  politics  |  nkandla upgrade  |  elections 2014

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