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Values won day in court: expert

Bloemfontein - The values of the Constitution won in three major court rulings on Friday, legal analyst Shadrack Gutto said.

This underlined that the judiciary could contribute to building confidence in society, especially when other systems did not, he said.

This file photo shows the private compound homestead of President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla. Credit: AP

Two of the rulings were by the High Court in Johannesburg. In the first, the court set aside the suspension of Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, saying its central executive committee failed to comply with its constitution.

In the second, the court concluded that a Democratic Alliance sms that President Jacob Zuma had stolen public money was fair comment.

The party based the sms, distributed to prospective voters, on a finding by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that Zuma unduly benefited from security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Also in Johannesburg, the Constitutional Court set aside a high court order against informal traders in Johannesburg, and allowed them to return to their inner city stalls.

“I think the values in the Constitution have won in the various pieces of legislation at work in these cases,” Gutto said.

The ruling on the DA's sms showed freedom of expression was critical, even in election time, he said.

Gutto said the Cosatu case upheld the principle that private organisations, such as trade unions, had to follow due process to manage their affairs, as set out in their constitutions.

“It's an important message to private organisations. It is critical.”

On the ruling involving the Johannesburg traders, Gutto said:

“It is one thing to remove people, but another thing to leave them vulnerable.”

Gutto said people needed to be treated with dignity.

“These were three important cases.”

Sapa

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