Late on Friday the 26th October, Zuma and his legal team capitulate. They withdraw all charges leaving Zapiro, Sunday Times and their legal team the victors.
Was this a case of poltical bullying and intimidation?
In this cartoon Zapiro thanks the Sunday Times and the great legal team
Link to some background articles below
Jacob Zuma's defamation case against Zapiro was supposed to start to tomorrow 25 October 2012. Guess what? After more than 4 years of preparing for this trial, Zuma's lawyers have asked for a postponement.
Zuma sued Zapiro, Mondli Makhanya and Sunday Times for R5 million, being R 4 million for damage to his reputation and R1 million for invasion of his dignity. Zapiro, Makhanya and the newspaper defended the claim on the basis that the allegation made by the cartoon about the abuse of the justice system was honest comment, and true, and also claimed punitive costs against Zuma.
Last week, Zuma, through his lawyers, dropped the dignity claim, and reduced the defamation claim to R100, 000. In addition, Zuma now claims an apology from Zapiro and the newspaper.
The case was due to start tomorrow, 25 October, in the South Gauteng High Court. However, Zuma requested that the case be postponed until Monday, on the basis that he has to be in parliament on Thursday and, because his lawyers are Muslim, the case also cannot proceed on Friday 27 October.
The trial is likely to start on Monday 29 October 2012.
The question we have: Will Jacob Zuma appear in court?
Why has he dropped the dignity claim? and
Why has he reduced the defamation claim to R100,000 from R 4 million?
Whats in the news
News 29 April 2012
THE Sunday Times this week filed court papers refusing to hand over documents President Jacob Zuma had demanded in his defamation case against cartoonist Zapiro.
The case is set to begin in the High Court in Johannesburg in 25 October 2012
This week, the former editor of the Sunday Times, Mondli Makhanya, submitted an affidavit in which he refused to hand over documents requested by Zuma. Makhanya said the papers were privileged, and that he had never had some of the documents relating to the case.
Lawyers for the Sunday Times said Zuma had been "put on notice" to file an affidavit detailing the documents in his possession, failing which "we will bring an application compelling him to disclose the documents he regards as relevant."
In court papers Zuma said the cartoon was degrading and suggested he was abusing the justice system ''in as vile ... a way as the raping of a woman".
News 18 October 2011
President Jacob Zuma’s defamation lawsuit against Zapiro over the 2008 ‘Rape of Lady Justice’ cartoon is set for trial in the South Gauteng High Court on 28 August 2012.
News on 13 June 2011
Zapiro's Rape metaphor cartoon published in the Mail & Guardian on Friday is causing a stir.
The latest on Zuma's actions against Zapiro
Having finally obtained a court date for his defamation case against Zapiro, Jacob Zuma’s threats to South Africa’s king of political cartooning are beginning to take more concrete form. The case, set for 28 August 2012, centres on Zapiro’s 2008 “Rape of Lady Justice” cartoon.
According to Mahala, this is the first time in history that a president has taken a cartoonist to court for defamation – is it? Mahala spoke to Zapiro about the looming date and his new book, The Last Sushi.
If you wish to have any of these cartoons for your online article or blog then take a look at the slideshow of Jacob Zuma and Lady Justice cartoons
21st December 2010 Analysis on the Zuma vs Zapiro Defamation Case
(Pierre de Vos is the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town.)
15th December 2010:Reaction to Zuma's decision to sue
Newpaper articles from outside South Africa
Opinion from The Daily Maverick(15th December 2010)
What does the SA prez possibly stand to gain from what seems like a case he is bound to lose? But looked at through the eyes of his supporters maybe – just maybe – it’s not about this specific case at all, but about the little media legislation they are so desperate to push through. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Press statement: Sanef shocked at defamation claim by President Zuma against Sunday Times
The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) is shocked at the defamation action instituted by President Jacob Zuma against Avusa, the Sunday Times, its editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya, and cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) over a cartoon that was published in the Sunday Times more than two years ago.
Sanef believes that it is surprising that the president waited more than two years before instituting his complaint on the grounds that in one instance he had been humiliated and degraded by the cartoon and in another instance that his reputation had been damaged.
The amount of the claim is also excessively high -- R5-million.
Sanef has noted that the content of the cartoon had been debated by the Human Rights Commission which had exonerated the paper and Zapiro, stating that the issues raised by the cartoon were in the public domain.
In light of the above Sanef is deeply concerned at the chilling effect inordinately large claims for damages on ground of defamation can have on the publication of cartoons which employ satire to comment on issues of public interest involving public personalities such as politicians and, in particular, government leaders.
Sanef has also noted that President Zuma has brought a number of earlier defamation actions against newspapers and the cartoonist which appear not to have been taken further but which continue to have an intimidatory effect on publication. The latest action, too, especially as a result of the lengthy time taken to lodge it against the newspaper, will be seen as having an intimidatory effect on the Sunday Times and the media as a whole.
In this regard, Sanef is conscious of the high degree of political tension that is likely to arise in the coming months leading up to the important local government elections scheduled to take place in 2011.
In such an environment it will readily be seen that claims for defamation may be launched which will have a further chilling effect on newspapers and the media in commenting on affairs of the day and the conduct of politicians.
Such claims will have the effect of restricting freedom of expression and commentary on matters of public interest.
In view of the time lapse and the Human Rights Commission's decision, Sanef calls on President Zuma to withdraw the claim.
14th December 2010: South African newspapers report that Zuma continues with his case and issues a summons in a Johannesburg High Court against Zapiro and Avusa for R5 million.
25th June 2010: The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found a Zapiro cartoon depicting President Jacob Zuma about to rape "Lady Justice" did not constitute hate speech, unfair discrimination or a violation of any human right enshrined in the Constitution,
On the 17th May 2009, it was reported in the Weekend Argus - Sunday edition, Page 5 that Zuma would continue with the case against Zapiro. Zuma's spokesperson, Thabo Masebe said that to his knowledge, the cases would continue. "The president has not said anything about dropping the lawsuits. So we can take it that for now, his position on the matter remains the same."
Jacob Zuma is suing Zapiro for R7 million for the 'Rape of Justice' cartoon which was published in The Sunday Times on 7 September 2008.
On Wednesday 17 December the Sheriff of the Court served Zapiro with a letter of demand claiming R7 million - R5 million for injury to Zuma's reputation and R2 million for injury to his dignity ' to be paid within 2 weeks, failing which Zuma will take Zapiro to court.
Zuma also cites The Sunday Times in his claim. The Sunday Times and its editor, Mondli Makhanya, have stated they are fully behind Zapiro. They are prepared to stand by their decision to publish the cartoon and will contest the case through their legal representatives.
Zapiro remains convinced he was justified in producing the cartoon at the time he did so. It is on record that in the run-up to the hearing where Judge Nicholson was to decide whether the corruption charges against Jacob Zuma were properly constituted, Jacob Zuma and his political allies threatened and bullied the judiciary. Julius Malema threatened to kill for Zuma, and Zwelinzima Vavi echoed this threat. Gwede Mantashe called judges counter-revolutionaries and said there'd be anarchy if the case went ahead. There appeared to be a concerted campaign of bullying the courts by all five men depicted in the cartoon.
Zapiro is also convinced that, if this case does go to court, freedom of expression will be upheld. He feels that the courts will uphold his right as a satirist and as a cartoonist to criticise public figures harshly, even when the images he produces are offensive to some.