The South Gauteng High Court’s dismissal of the ANC’s objection to a DA electioneering SMS on Friday was a major blow for the ruling party.
This is according to Political analyst of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Professor Susan Booysens, who was speaking in the wake of the controversial ruling on Friday morning. The SMS in question alleged that President Zuma stole money from the South African public to build his Nkandla residence.
Acting Judge Mike Hellens, who dismissed the application, said the use of the phrase ‘licence to loot’ in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla, came very close to the word ‘stole’ in the DA’s SMS.
According to Booysen, the ruling caught the ANC by surprise and would give opposition parties a lot of mileage. She called the ruling a set-back for the ANC which would be very damaging to the “South Africa has a good story to tell”-narrative that it has been promoting in the context of 20 years of democracy.
She says the ANC will now need to “really take stock” with only a month left until South Africa’s 2014 general elections as the judgement was much more than a drop in the ruling party’s bucket.
Listen to Professor Booysens below:
The ANC said it would study the judgement and its legal representative, Siyabonga Mahlangu, said the judgement does not licence people to insult others. The DA welcomed the ruling, calling it a victory for freedom of speech.
Ordinary South Africans had mixed views on the SMS saga.
Dillon Flanagan, a student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), says someone needed act against corruption.
Flanagan says: “The judgement on the sms issue was fair and I think it is about time that leaders should stop using public’s money. Someone must account and the DA did the right thing.”
Betty Mahlangu says the DA has no right to insult President Zuma.
“DA is for kids, that is why they say what they are saying. Things are different now, there is change. They have no right to insult our president. I think the judgement was unfair.”
Jerome Naidoo has expressed his disappointment on DA’s leadership.
“What the DA has done is wrong. It shows that they are not true leaders. You can’t discredit another leader. Leaders should engage and find solutions.”
– By OPINION: Susan Booysen