15 November 2012

South Africa: Insult Law Not Fair - Cosatu

Photo: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma: Calls for an "insult law" has been met with strong opposition by journalists, lawyers and freedom of expression activists.

Johannesburg — Calls for a law protecting President Jacob Zuma against insults would not be fair, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Thursday.

"Every individual has the right to dignity and to be treated with respect and that must be safe guarded... but you cannot have a law which only applies to one person and not others," Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said.

SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande reportedly backed the call made by his party in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, for a law protecting the presidency from attacks that were "unfair, and lacking in fact and truth".

"People can differ with me and you can insult me as you like, but disrespect, that is not acceptable," Nzimande, the higher education and training minister was quoted as saying by The Star.

"We are being undermined by whites."

He warned that Zuma supporters would soon reach boiling point.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Thursday took to social networking site Twitter to voice his opposition to the SACP's call.

"I don't want anyone insulting anyone & dignity of all must be protected! But a single law to protect one person takes us down Zim route," he wrote.

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