Zapiro had no doubt

Jacob Zuma's legal team withdrew the damages claim against the artist popularly known as Zapiro.

Cartoonist and political satirist, Jonathan Shapiro.

JOHANNESBURG - Cartoonist and political satirist, Jonathan Shapiro, said on Sunday that President Jacob Zuma's decision to withdraw a R100, 000 damages claim against him is a major victory for freedom of expression.

Zuma's legal team withdrew the damages claim against the artist popularly known as Zapiro on Saturday.

The matter was expected to be heard in court on Monday.

Zuma initially demanded R5 million in damages, arguing that Zapiro attacked his dignity and reputation, in a Sunday Times cartoon depicting the president forcing himself upon Lady Justice.

The cartoonist said he hopes the withdrawal will mean more freedom for other satirists to continue their work without fear.

"I have no reason to doubt that we would have won and I had no reason right from the start to doubt that we had the strong case and that they used this kind of thing, court cases and that, as a form of intimidation.

"I was always convinced that we'd win."