ANC to appeal Nkandla SMS ruling

ANC to appeal Nkandla SMS ruling

President Jacob Zuma. CC image courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

South African ruling party the African National Congress (ANC) is to appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of its case against the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) over an SMS sent to 1.5 million Gauteng voters accusing president Jacob Zuma of stealing public money.

HumanIPO reported last week the High Court in Johannesburg ruled the SMS – which referred to a public protector report which found Zuma had unduly benefited from an upgrade to his Nkandla homestead and said it was a “licence to loot – was “fair comment”.

The SMS 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.”

The DA said this week it would use the court judgment as evidence as it seeks to have Zuma impeached, though the ANC announced yesterday it planned to appeal, with party deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte saying Judge Hellens had make an error in ruling on the basis of defamation, with the ANC instead seeking to have the case heard as an electoral matter.

“We are appealing the court dismissal because if this opens the door for people to say things willy-nilly, it means the electoral platform of our country is in danger,” Duarte said.

DA premier candidate for Gauteng Mmusi Maimane said the party welcomes the ANC’s appeal, as it looked forward to justifying itself in another court.

“This appeal is a further sign of how desperate the ANC has become at the prospect of a close election in Gauteng,” he said. “The DA regards the High Court’s judgement as both a victory for freedom of speech and for the truth about Nkandla.”

He said: “It appears that the ANC will now attempt to argue that freedom of speech should be restricted by electoral law during South African elections.

“We welcome the opportunity to return to court to defend the right of 1.6 million voters in Gauteng to be communicated the truth about Nkandla.”

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