Advocate seeks to force Zuma to act on lawsuits

2012-10-30 00:00

JUST as the Sunday Times forced President Jacob Zuma to come to a decision on his suit against the paper and cartoonist Zapiro, advocate Willem de Klerk, who represents Rapport and Sunday Sun in similar cases, is seeking instructions to force him to act.

De Klerk said it seems Zuma has “no serious intention to bring his suits [against the media] to court”.

On Friday, Zuma decided to drop his libel claim against the Sunday Times and Jonathan Shapiro over the Lady Justice cartoon, after the paper applied for a court date.

Zuma has not withdrawn two other suits against Zapiro in which the Star is the co-respondent.

“I am going to seek instructions to oblige Zuma to give attention to the case,” De Klerk said yesterday.

“For months he has neglected to reveal the documents he will use in the case. We are of the opinion that there is no merit in Zuma’s case.”

Between 2006 and 2010, Zuma brought 14 cases against various media houses, for a total of R40 million.

Dario Milo, who represented Zapiro in the “Justice” case, is working on another six cases, about which he has heard nothing.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj could not say last night what will become of the other cases.

In the meantime, there is confusion over which legal team Zuma plans to use in the libel cases, which could also derail them.

Advocate Jurg Prinsloo and media adviser Liesl Göttert, who have worked for Zuma on the cases since the beginning, told sister paper Beeld their instructions have not been changed.

However, according to reports, advocates Nazeer Cassim and Yusuf Dockrat were instructed to represent him in the “Justice” case.

Beeld was reliably informed that Prinsloo and Göttert are working on a contingency basis, which means they would be paid a portion of any damages if they won the cases.

Given that the total amount was R40 million, they would be within their rights to claim compensation if they were irregularly replaced. Prinsloo and Göttert declined to comment on this.

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