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article imageZuma stole public money is fair comment, rules High Court

By Matthew Hendricks     Apr 6, 2014 in Politics
The High Court in Johannesburg ruled that a text message sent out by the DA accusing ANC president Jacob Zuma of stealing public money was fair comment.
The Democratic Alliance sent out the SMS message to 1.5 million prospective Gauteng voters, accusing Zuma of theft referring to the Nkandlagate scandal, reports businesstech.co.za.
The African National Congress (ANC) wanted the DA to retract the SMS, stop sending it and apologise, or be fined up to R200,000, according to iol.co.za.
Acting Judge Mike Hellens dismissed the ANC's application to stop the message's distribution with costs. He heard argument on Wednesday by the ANC and the DA, according to timeslive.co.za.
According to Hellens, the totality of the public protector's findings speak of an untrammelled and uncontrolled, or substantially uncontrolled, access to public funds to benefit Jacob Zuma, without adequate lawful authority.
According to iol.co.za, Judge Hellens, in his judgment, read extracts from the Public Protector's Nkandlagate report and referred to the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word “loot”. In this report, the Public Protector found that the Nkandla upgrades were a “licence to loot”.
DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said this ruling is a victory for freedom of speech.
“The ANC never tabled the Nkandla report in court because they can't admit to what it says. The fact remains that any reasonable person can conclude that money was stolen to upgrade the president's R246million private homestead,” said Maimane.
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