Mangaung race made Zuma drop claim - Zapiro
Zapiro says President Jacob Zuma tried to postpone the defamation case for after Mangaung.
JOHANNESBURG - Political satirist and cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro believes Mangaung is the reason the president withdrew the defamation claim against him.
President Jacob Zuma's legal team withdrew his R100,000 damages claim against the artist at the weekend - just two days before the matter was due to be heard in court.
The president initially demanded R5 million in damages to his dignity and reputation, after the Sunday Times published an image by Zapiro showing the president preparing to force himself upon "Lady Justice".
The Presidency has cited freedom of speech as one of the reasons for withdrawing the claim.
Shapiro says while he is convinced his team would win the legal battle, he believes it was because of the electoral conference at Mangaung that the claim against him was dropped.
"They did not want his to go to court just before Mangaung. They certainly did not want [me] on the witness stand before Mangaung.
"Before they made concessions, they tried everything to postpone the case for after Mangaung."
The ANC will elect its top six leaders at the December conference, and Zuma has made his plans to run for second term clear.
Zapiro said the withdrawal of charges had been a major victory for freedom of expression.