Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2003-09-05 Reporter: Christelle Terreblanche

Temperature Rises in Ngcuka-Zuma Clash



The Star

Date 2003-09-05


Christelle Terreblanche

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National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka is ready to hit back at Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

He is bringing a countering affidavit to court in response to a statement by Zuma, which apparently implicates "some highly placed people".

Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson for Ngcuka, confirmed that Ngcuka's countering statement to the court today would respond to the allegations in Zuma's affidavit. According to well-placed sources, that affidavit also questions the Scorpions' motives for investigating the deputy president.

Zuma filed his urgent application on Saturday in an effort to obtain a copy of an encrypted fax which allegedly implicated him in corruption regarding the arms deal.

It is widely seen as a first attempt by the deputy president to fight back against the allegations against him after they burst onto the public domain.

The case went to court on Wednesday, with the state opposing Zuma's application because it had "no basis". It was postponed until September 15 to allow Ngcuka to answer Zuma's allegations and for the deputy president to then respond.

On Wednesday, Ngcuka's lawyer tried to keep Zuma's allegedly defamatory statement out of the public spotlight by urging Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe to issue an order prohibiting publication until the urgent application by Zuma has been heard.

Zuma's counsel, however, argued for the publication of the allegations.

Judge Ngoepe said he saw no need for a prohibiting order.

But he warned that the law was clear that statements which had not yet been before court were privileged, and that publishing potentially defamatory statements would leave one open to be sued or possibly even face a charge of contempt of court.

With acknowledgements to Christelle Terreblanche and The Star.