The application stems from a bulk SMS sent out to nearly 1.6 million people by the opposition party which read in part: “The Nkandla report shows how Zuma stole your money to build his
R246 million home.”
Gcina Malindi for the ANC, the same advocate who broke down in tears while representing President Jacob Zuma against the Goodman Gallery and artist Brett Murray, was caught on the back foot when Acting Judge Mike Hellens took him to task for not providing the Public Protector’s Nkandla report for a comparison against the SMS.
“I don’t understand how the applicant can come to court and say the respondent said that the Nkandla report said ‘X’ but the Nkandla report did not say ‘X’ when they don’t tell me what the Nkandla report said,” Judge Hellens directed at Malindi.
It was a matter which arose numerous times during the days arguments, as did the issue of jurisdiction.
“Let us just get those lines clear – am I being approached as the Electoral Court or as the High Court in this matter?” Judge Hellens wanted to know.
Judge Hellens said it was important because if the ANC wanted sanctions, whichever hat he was wearing would have a bearing on the matter.
The latter issue was never resolved during the day and Hellens appointed Jami as amicus curiae – friend of the court – to assist in the matter.
And the ANC does want sanctions, either in the form of a R200 000 fine or another bulk SMS from the DA to its subscribers apologising to the ANC and President Zuma.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said he was happy with the day’s proceedings.
“They themselves cannot provide anything to the effect that that the Public Protector says President Zuma stole.
“If you take all of the findings of the Public Protector, none of the findings say President Zuma ransacked the public purse. None.
“There are findings of unethical conduct, there are findings of unduly benefiting but none of the findings say Zuma stole,” said an emphatic Mthembu.
Advocate Ismail Jamie for the DA said in court that the Public Protector had been very cautious about her actual findings. He said a reasonable person could conclude from the report that dishonesty, corruption, maladministration and misappropriation for personal benefit had taken place.