LAWYERS for the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday agreed to postpone to Wednesday a court hearing on the latter’s contentious Nkandla SMS.
DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said his party had filed a "fairly lengthy" replying affidavit, and the ANC lawyers needed more time to consider the submission.
The DA issued the SMS to more than 1-million cellphone users soon after the release of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s final report on Nkandla on March 19.
Ms Madonsela found that President Jacob Zuma had benefited unduly from the R246m the state spent on security upgrades at his private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
The DA’s 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 last week challenged the DA in court after the opposition party refused to withdraw the SMS.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said on Tuesday that the party’s “insistence on the truth in this matter is rooted in a belief that the public should be able to rely on political leaders' assessment of the state of our politics and distillation of complex issues”.
Mr Mthembu said the DA’s SMS was a deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of Ms Madonsela's report.
The public protector did not find that Mr Zuma stole money to build his home, he said. Instead, Ms Madonsela “confirmed that President Zuma did not use any state money to build his private residence”.
Mr Mthembu added: “The public protector therefore did not find any evidence on which such theft could be inferred.”
DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said on Tuesday in a statement that the party would defend its "right to hold the president to account for improperly benefiting from the use of millions of rand in public money on his private residence".
"We intend to oppose the ANC’s high court application since we believe the comment issued in the disputed SMS was fair within the context of the many damning findings of the report," Mr Maimane said.