Monday, October 29, 2012

Lawsuit: Zuma ‘favours freedom’

ZUMA'S LAWSUIT 'FAVOURS RE-ELECTION' PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma seemed to extend an olive branch to the media yesterday, announcing that he was dropping a multi-million rand defamation case against cartoonist Zapiro. 29 October 2012 | PAUL KIRK The case against Zapiro – real name Jonathan Shapiro – Avusa Media and then-editor of the Sunday Times Mondli Makhanya was set to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court today (mon). It centres around a 2008 cartoon by Zapiro, titled “The Rape of Lady Justice”, and depicts Zuma preparing to rape the symbol of justice as others hold her down. In a statement yesterday, the presidency said that after “consideration and consultation with his legal team, President Zuma has taken a decision to withdraw his claim against the respondents, and pay a contribution to their costs”. It said that a major consideration in making the decision was concern for the principle of free speech. “Whereas the president believes that in an open and democratic society, a fine and sensitive balance needs to be maintained between the exercise of civil rights such as freedom of speech, and the dignity and privacy of others, that balance should be struck in favour of Constitutional freedoms,” it said. “The president therefore would like to avoid setting a legal precedent that may have the effect of limiting the public exercise of free speech, with the unforeseen consequences this may have on our media, public commentators and citizens.” But Dario Milo, a partner at the law firm Webber Wentzel, said that while he welcomed the decision to drop the damages claim against his client, Zuma’s twelve other cases against the media have not been dropped. In its statement, the presidency said that another consideration in its decision to drop the claims was the view that “matters relating to dignity and the public standing of individuals cannot be mediated exclusively through the courts. “Essentially what lies at the heart of the Sunday Times’ publication of the cartoon was a set of deeply ingrained prejudices regarding not only the president, but which extend to views about African males and sexual mores. “While the courts exist in part to protect citizens against racial and cultural prejudice and bigotry, those scourges will not be eradicated from our body politic through litigation alone. Defeating racist attitudes requires removing the racial imprint on the way South African society is organised and structured, as well as continuous political action and open dialogue between South Africans across racial and cultural divides.” The presidency also said that in light of recent economic and political developments, Zuma had called on all South Africans to work together to find lasting solutions to national challenges. One area of focus for Zuma and the government would be “working with business to address the underlying socio-economic causes of the recent unrest, particularly the working and living conditions of mine workers and mining communities”. THE CITIZEN ANC denies snub to SACP IMAGE 1 of 1 A LECTURE on the ANC centenary delivered by the SA Communist Party (SACP) at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus yesterday got off on a disappointing note, with the ANC in Gauteng snubbing the event 29 October 2012 | NGWAKO MODJADJIA Simmering tensions between the two parties exploded recently when the Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee nominated Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to lead the party while the SACP threw its weight behind President Jacob Zuma’s bid’s bid for a second term. But Gauteng ANC spokesman Dumisa Ntuli downplayed the incident, saying it was not a snub because the ANC is part of the ANC centenary lecture. “Most of our leaders are engaged in different political work in the province including general meetings for the process toward Mangaung. It is part of our programme to make sure Nzimande delivers the lecture. It has nothing to do with Mangaung,” Ntuli said. Nzimande, in his address, said under former president Thabo Mbeki relations between the SACP and the ANC soured. “There was an agenda to break the relationship between the party and the ANC. That’s why we wanted change in Polokwane. We respect Mbeki but we must tell the truth,” he said. There was a brouhaha last week when Mbeki criticised Zuma and the ANC’s leadership. Mbeki said he was not certain about the direction the country was heading in under the current ANC leadership. “My feeling of unease is also informed by what I sense as a pervasive understanding throughout the nation that there is no certainty about our future with regard to any of our known challenges, and therefore the future of the nation, and we have an obligation to ensure our continuing struggle is led by people who never, in any way, abuse state power to advance their personal interests,” he said. Mbeki made these remarks at an OR Tambo memorial lecture he delivered as part of the ANC’s centenary celebrations at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. Nzimande said the SACP will retain its independence but at the same time will remain pro-ANC. He also warned people who are killing National Union of Mineworkers members in Marikana. The Citizen - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY Never be fooled by a fool. Nzimande you are but a Zuma puppet. The gloves are off, let the party begin. Motlanthe needs more than a 'biography' to get him out of this pickle. HAS O R TAMBO's SPIRIT NOT RETURNED TO HAUNT ZUMA AND THE ANC?

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