Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

2 April 2014

South Africa: ANC and DA Battle Over an SMS - How Legal Is It to Claim Zuma Stole Money?

analysis

Nkandla: Did Zuma steal? That's the question posed in the South Gauteng High Court two weeks after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her report on the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla home. The ANC says the DA violated the Electoral Act by sending an SMS to 1.6 million people saying "Zuma stole your money". The DA says it's echoing what everyone really thinks.

"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." That's the SMS the DA sent to 1,593,683 people in Gauteng. The ANC, which has had issues with the DA's mass campaigning methods before, took the party to court on Wednesday, putting the Nkandla issue in front of a judge for the first time.

Madonsela's report found wide-ranging unlawful conduct, maladministration, and wasteful expenditure regarding the security upgrades while also finding that the Zuma family benefited from non-security related developments, which she suggested the president pay back a reasonable portion.

But did he "steal"?

In front of acting Judge Mike Hellens, who went to pains to establish whether the issue was being heard by the Electoral Court,...

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