Law Sheilding Pres Zuma from insults draws fire
11/28/2012, 11:29 a.m.
Nov. 27 (GIN) - A law that would keep unpleasant remarks or worse from reaching the sensitive ears of South African President Jacob Zuma is drawing opposition from usually cooperative quarters.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi wrote: "I don't want anyone insulting anyone & dignity of all must be protected! But a single law to protect one person takes us down Zim route."
Also at Cosatu, Patrick Craven echoed Vavi's remarks. "Every individual has the right to dignity and to be treated with respect, and that must be safe-guarded... but you cannot have a law which only applies to one person and not others."
Media practitioners jumped in: (A law like that)"is widely used in Africa and has resulted in many journalists spending lengthy periods in jail and the closure of media outlets," wrote the South African National Editors Forum in an editorial.
The insult protection law found an unexpected defender in the South African Communist Party.
Communist Party head Blade Nzimande became the first senior tripartite alliance leader to publicly back the so-called insult law, saying whites have pushed their black counterparts to the limit with their disrespectful treatment of President Jacob Zuma.
People "can differ with me and you can criticize me as you like, but disrespect, that is not acceptable," Nzimande, the higher education and training minister was quoted as saying.
"We can't accept insults," he told writer Eusebius McKaiser. "We have been insulted for too long as black people in this country... We are being undermined by whites."