Zuma SMS: Free speech prevailed – DA

2015-01-19 17:08

Democracy and the right to freedom of speech are the true winners in a court battle over an SMS stating President Jacob Zuma “stole” taxpayers’ money, says the DA.

“This is a major victory for freedom of speech, proving again that South Africans have the right to form robust opinions about the issues affecting our nation,” said Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane today.

“Democracy has indeed prevailed today, because without freedom of speech what kind of democracy have we got?”

The Constitutional Court today overturned an Electoral Court ruling that the DA could not publish the text message.

The DA’s SMS, sent to around 1.5 million voters in Gauteng on March 20, read: “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”.

According to the judgment the SMS constituted opinion or comment, rather than a statement of fact, and as such was not prohibited under the Electoral Act and Electoral Code.

Maimane said the SMS was thus comment or opinion based on an interpretation of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla.

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