PARTY

Why Zuma withdrew his case against Zapiro - Presidency

Mac Maharaj
28 October 2012

Mac Maharaj says President didn't want to set a legal precedent that could've limited free speech

President Zuma withdraws case against Mr Shapiro and Avusa

28 October 2012

In December 2008 President Jacob Zuma instituted a legal claim against Avusa Media, publishers of The Sunday Times, the newspaper's editor at the time Mr Mondli Makhanya, and its editorial cartoonist Mr Jonathan Shapiro, AKA "Zapiro". The damages sought - R5 million - were in compensation for defamation and impaired personal dignity (see here).

This followed the publication in September that year of a "Zapiro" cartoon in the Sunday Times, titled "The Rape of Lady Justice". The cartoon depicted President Zuma preparing to "rape" a representation of "Lady Justice", while various other individuals held her down for him.

This representation was hurtful and defamatory, as the respondents themselves have subsequently admitted in papers submitted to the South Gauteng High Court. This candid admission, whilst sought to be justified on other grounds, at least reflects an appreciation of the hurt and harm that such depiction brought about.

Moreover, in depicting President Zuma as a would-be rapist, the cartoon sought to play to discredited and legally disproved accusations made against him in 2006. The newspaper and the cartoonist wanted to perpetrate an image of the President as a sexual deviant, despite a court of law rejecting the allegations against him and clearing his name.

After careful consideration and consultation with his legal team, President Zuma has taken a decision to withdraw his claim against the respondents, and pay a contribution to their costs.

Three major considerations inform the President's decision in this regard:

  • Whereas the President believes that in an open and democratic society, a fine and sensitive balance needs to be maintained between the exercise of civil rights such as freedom of speech, and the dignity and privacy of others, that balance should be struck in favour of constitutional freedoms. The President therefore would like to avoid setting a legal precedent that may have the effect of limiting the public exercise of free speech, with the unforeseen consequences this may have on our media, public commentators and citizens.
  • Matters relating to dignity and the public standing of individuals cannot be mediated exclusively through the courts. Essentially what lies at the heart of the Sunday Times' publication of the cartoon was a set of deeply ingrained prejudices regarding not only the President, but which extend to views about African males and sexual mores. While the courts exist in part to protect citizens against racial and cultural prejudice and bigotry, those scourges will not be eradicated from our body politic through litigation alone. Defeating racist attitudes requires removing the racial imprint on the way South African society is organised and structured, as well as continuous political action and open dialogue between South Africans across racial and cultural divides. The President wishes to encourage this route to solving such problems.
  • In light of recent economic and political developments, the President has called on all South Africans to work together to find lasting solutions to the challenges that face us as a nation. The President has convened a summit of the social partners two weeks ago, in his effort to find a way out of the difficult moment our country finds itself in, relating to the global economic meltdown and frustrations by the people on the ground.

Among the short and long-term strategies which the President and the government have embarked upon are:

1. Encouraging negotiations between unions and employer groups to restore calm to the country's mining industry;

2. Strengthening law and order in the country's mining belt;

3. Working with business to address the underlying socio-economic causes of the recent unrest, particularly the working and living conditions of mine workers and mining communities;

4. Encouraging more prudence in the public and private sector around executive packages, so that we begin to close the widening income gaps in our economy;

5. Championing a massive infrastructure rollout programme which will help fast-track growth and create much needed employment opportunities.

The President is determined to continue to lead these programmes from the front, as well as lead the efforts of South Africans to reach out to each other across historical divides to forge a common nationhood. It is the President's view that a legal battle against individuals and institutions will be an unnecessary diversion. He would rather encourage the people he was taking action against to become partners in the above efforts, putting the country first.

President Zuma calls on all South Africans, in whatever walk of life they find themselves, to rededicate themselves both in word and deed to the inspiring vision of 1994, and to work harder to put our country on a path towards shared growth, greater equality and common nationhood.

President Zuma wishes to see an end to prejudice, insults and personal attacks in public debates and commentary and the restoration of respect, ubuntu and common decency.

Statement issued by Mac Maharaj, The Presidency, October 28 2012

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter

 



 

Comments

If you come across comments that are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate; contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs, please report them and they will be removed.
 
 responses to this article

The racist card
That cartoon has nothing to do with racism. If Zuma was white, you can be guaranteed that Zapiro would still attack this traitor's personal vendetta against the democratic freedoms that he claims he fought for. His attacks on the judiciary, the free press . .more

by Miksa668 on October 28 2012, 16:01
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma probably always intended to withdraw from the action
Bringing a case to intimidate your critics is a very common practice - mostly used by multi-nationals against environmentalists.

Which is why Martin Weltz of Noseweek has no assets - which is today's way of saying "sue and be damned". I have used . .more

by Lyndall Beddy on October 28 2012, 17:35
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma was clearly terrified of bring in the witness box
Just a pathetic excuse from Mac simply unbelievable. And now for the tapes. We need to get the man in court

by I do not believe this on October 28 2012, 17:36
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Hahahahahahaha
What a joke he is, in fact all of them

by Hilarious but sad on October 28 2012, 17:44
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

This Macfib must be his tallest yet.
Since all the factors cited by CoMacal Ali have been constant throughout the case, there is no reason for Jacob 783's sudden epiphany.

More like fear of being humiliated by yet another losing court case or, worse, being called into the witness . .more

by Racist in ANCspeak means someone who thinks on October 28 2012, 19:49
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Bwahahahaha!
Mac, you must be losing it....

by Brett on October 28 2012, 20:38
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma scared of the truth
Be honest ZUMA.
You are to scared to go to court.
in court you wil have to defend yourself against the animation, and you will be found guilty of screwing the justice.

by G Mandlazi on October 28 2012, 22:08
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma pays the price and the costs
Mac, you old scammer; you not talking to child's here. You get the drift? This is called "I pay, you go away". Don't give us a sad story now. Zapiro is the hero; Zuma the fool.

by Sammy on October 28 2012, 23:08
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

You got to be kidding...

Mr Mac, you got to be kidding if you want us to believe this charade... The ANC does NOT care about freedom of speech - it was the pinko liberals that sneaked that into the "freedom fighter" documents... And neither does Zuma!

The truth . .more

by Dinks on October 29 2012, 06:35
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Mac
Bullsh*t, bullsh*t, it all sounds like bullsh*t to me, to me ...(sung to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean, otherwise known as My President Lies Over Everything)

by Cynic on October 29 2012, 07:04
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma keeping his powder dry?
Maybe Mr Zuma (and very definitely his lawyers) wants to keep a hold of the R20m of taxpayers money that have been allocated for his legal travails. He may need it to defend the tapes saga.

by Herman Hanson on October 29 2012, 07:43
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Sounds sweet, but still an evil tasting bunny chow
Mac Fib says 'President didn't want to set a legal precedent that could've limited free speech '.

So now he is going to cancel all ideas of having his Secrecy Bill?


by mike on October 29 2012, 08:01
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

The tale of the two Zs
When I heard the news on Radio Pretoria last night that Big Z had finally yielded to common sense and dropped his defamation cliam against Smart Z, it made my day.

I doubt very much that Big Z took this decision by himself. Maybe Mac the knife is . .more

by James Bell on October 29 2012, 08:23
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

did you hear?
Did you hear how Shapiro mocked Mac over SAfm this morning?
Man, he really dressed him down...

by EatChickenFeet on October 29 2012, 08:43
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zapiro
The whole truth is that Zuma knew he had gone too far. Can the powers that be please enlighten us as to how much of our money has already been spent on this infantile exercise?
To say that his dignity was affected is to laugh, he and only he . .more

by Laura on October 29 2012, 08:46
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Where are the racist Zumanoids now?
I don't see too many comments here by the usual run-of-the-sewer anc lickspittles. Maybe they are taking up a collection for those legal fees their BOSS will be coughing up.

by DavidJ on October 29 2012, 09:05
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Yellow fever-FEVER-fever
10 Little (ANC) Indians. BiG MaC must be the last one -" and then there were none"

by Valie on October 29 2012, 09:09
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma- Zapiro
That was difficult to sell Mac . Any buyers yet? None I believe! Try selling used cars.

by Eric on October 29 2012, 09:14
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

A real man!
How come he was not so gracious over an accidental spilling of a drink? He could have shown a little mercy on that one if he was a real man.

by Jenny on October 29 2012, 10:10
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

BigZ
If this is Zuma's position on such matters what was all the fuss about the "spear picture" about?

by RobinAfrica on October 29 2012, 10:13
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

He offered the olive branch...will they take it?
President Zuma wishes to see an end to prejudice, insults and personal attacks in public debates and commentary and the restoration of respect, ubuntu and common decency...


by . on October 29 2012, 10:23
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@DOT - Totally Wrong
NO! DOT, you are completely incorrect.

Don't you understand that President 783's primary motive was to AVOID being cross examined in court. Please also (carefully) refer to and read the comments above.

But then, as the paid ANC . .more

by Democrat on October 29 2012, 11:01
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@by Democrat on October 29 2012, 11:01
President Zuma has had lots of days in court due to his enemies and he was not found guilty of any charge...with the run up to the conference and with running the country he must be quite busy so the timing on this case was not fantastic, but rather than . .more

by . on October 29 2012, 12:01
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Why Zuma withdrew his case against Zapiro?
Because it was silly and wasting the taxpayers money!!!

by Tokolosh on October 29 2012, 12:18
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

courage in leadership
One of the hallmarks of a good leader is personal courage.......

Go and have a look at Zapiro's latest Zuma cartoon in today's Mail and Guardian. It is a masterpiece of social commentary and speaks volumes about Zuma's credentials as a leader

by citizen on October 29 2012, 12:46
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

you dogs
You all such an idiots, don't you see we are rebuilding this country, you destroyed it, Zuma is demontrating how africans should deal with its matters, but forget nothing positive will come to your mouth you dogs

by mjamba on October 29 2012, 13:01
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

You Dogs
Mjamba, in the Effrican dictionary is explained as a "flee and lice infected mongrel"
Not my words, as we are not allowed to be ugly and antisocial in our responses.
Zapiro keep up the good work "tears of laughter is better than tantrums".

by Valie on October 29 2012, 13:34
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@ Mac-Fib
To hear you directly implicate Zapiro as a racist (in a country where that is such a painful accusation) on SAFM this morning, when this cartoon had nothing to do with race was disgusting. You are a disgrace to the country, the government and the ANC. . .more

by Themba Ciko on October 29 2012, 13:50
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Mac what a fool you are if you think we believe any of this
You are an idiot if you do. Your boss was simply terrified to face up to reality in a court room. Now for the Tapes Mac what is your excuse for this absolutely disgraceful behaviour of Zuma? Disgusting.

by Laughable on October 29 2012, 15:15
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Restore respect. Is that a joke?
If Zuma wishes to see an end to insults and restoration of respect, he should immediately step out of government and disappear into the dust - along with his pitiable Congress members.
You are insulting the citizens of South Africa simply by being . .more

by Maribou on October 29 2012, 15:30
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@by Maribou on October 29 2012, 15:30
But apparently he is the best the ANC have got. Who is the alternative within the ANC?

by . on October 29 2012, 15:36
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

The maggot in the crown...
Zuma is the best the ANC have? How sad. And what a waste of time. The timebomb is ticking...

Let's think laterally for a minute. If we could forcefully instate a party like the DA to run the show (I say 'forcefully' because the baying masses et . .more

by Maribou on October 29 2012, 16:28
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@by Maribou on October 29 2012, 16:28
You cannot "forcibly" democratically elect a party. That is a coup. A coup would not be supported locally or internationally in overthrowing a democratically elected Government. The voters elect the party they want whether DA or ANC during national . .more

by . on October 29 2012, 17:06
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

by . on October 29 2012, 10:23
Fakester.

by . on October 29 2012, 17:17
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

. and Mac
You have to admire Mac's brilliance. he has tried his most brilliant thetoric to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. And one man - in the name of misplaced Africanism - thinks Zuma is the man.
Tough tittie.

by mafirofiro on October 29 2012, 19:35
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@Jenny

Bingo, you hit the nail on the head, if Mr Zuma wanted us all to get along why was he so persistent over the split drink? This telling fact goes a long way to demonstrate the real character of Mr Zuma and his puppet mouthpiece.

by Oblio on October 29 2012, 20:15
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Coup coop a doo
Yes of course that would be a coup, dot. If only that were possible at this time...
If we dwell on the benefits of a South African DA coup long enough, it may yet become a reality.... (hope...human breast etc)
How else do you wrest a potentially . .more

by Maribou on October 29 2012, 21:55
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@Dot
Keep on hitting your point about how Jacob Zuma is the best the ANC have. It is so funny. The ANC might not like your posts though. Better check with them? Great sense of humour you have.

by Dot Fan on October 30 2012, 10:31
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

You cannot forcibly democratically elect a party
Wow, such insight, such pure unadulterated liberalism.

Ever participated in the elctions in KZN's no-go zones on either ANC or IFP sides? Or lately between IFP and their break away party?

What do you think the kind and benevolent uncle . .more

by James Bell on October 30 2012, 17:13
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Zuma's case withdrawal
Mac, don't you feel ashamed at spinning this story? or at least embarrassed?

by jelry on November 15 2012, 12:32
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it


Name
Subject
Comment