JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance, through its spokesman Mmusi Maimane, issued an unconditional apology to the ANC over an SMS sent out to more than 1.6 million potential voters.
The questionable DA SMS read: “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.”
The ANC took the matter to the South Gauteng High Court, accusing the DA of violating the Electoral Act by distributing false information aimed at influencing the outcome of an election.The ANC wanted a follow-up SMS to be sent out with an apology or that the DA pay a R200 000 fine.
The ANC’s legal team contended that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla found that the public works minister and his staff are a rather hopeless bunch, and that everybody involved in the construction of the homestead contributed to the scandal either through general incompetence, or by gainfully exploiting the general incompetence of others. Except, that is, for Number 1, who may just be absolved from all allegations of wilful corruption due to the good fortune of his own staggering ineptitude.
Even though the DA won the court case, the party finally conceded that the SMS was an blatant obfuscation of the facts. “We may have misread the report,” shrugged Maimane. “Thuli never specified that Jacob personally stole. She only said that he’s got a house paid for with money stolen by others.”
The main opposition party admitted that it unduly focussed on the wrong felony. “Although possession of stolen goods is a crime, we have to concede that it’s a crime different from the act of stealing,” explained Maimane.
Despite the apology, the ANC remains somewhat dismayed. “It was never about the apology,” cried spokesman Jackson Mthembu. “We were hoping to win the case with a judge ruling that a DA SMS claiming Zuma stole was false, thereby miraculously absolving Zuma of all allegations of wrongdoing or untoward benefit. Now we’ll have to explore other avenues to save Msholozi.”
To rectify their mistake, the DA will send out a new, more accurate SMS. According to Maimane, the updated SMS will read: “The Nkandla report shows how Zuma is in possession of your money, stolen by his staff to build a R246m home for him. Vote DA on 7 May to beat corruption. Together for change.”
At present, the DA is planning to take the ANC to the South Gauteng High Court, on charges of violating the Electoral Act by distributing false information aimed at influencing the outcome of an election.
“Section 89 of the Electoral Act prohibits lying during election time,” repeated Maimane. “Jacob Zuma lied to us about Nkandla. We demand an apology, or that he pays a fine equal to his unlawful benefits.” BN
While serving time and trying to fight the system from the inside, Barend learnt a thing or two about the law. He follows the law closely, from a distance, and the law follows him. Do not tell anyone that he’s out.
- DA and ANC do battle over SMS (Daily Maverick)