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,
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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