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The African National Congress has welcomed the acquittal of its national executive committee member Billy Masetlha, pictured below.
The Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court yesterday acquitted Masetlha and his two co-accused - IT expert Muziwendoda Kunene and former National Intelligence Agency manager Funokwakhe Madlala - of fraud charges relating to hoax e-mails.
The hoax e-mails implicated senior ANC members in "a conspiracy" against Jacob Zuma, the then deputy president.
"The ANC welcomes the acquittal by the court of NEC member Billy Masetlha and his two co-accused on charges of fraud and intercepting e-mails," said party spokeman Jessie Duarte in a press statement.
She said the party had always maintained that there was a political motive behind the hoax e-mail saga.
"We believe the whole e-mail saga was meant to tarnish the image of the ANC and that of Masetlha, to undermine and sow divisions within the ANC leadership and the broader mass democratic movement," said Duarte.
The ruling, she said, restored the ANC's confidence in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
Previously, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils took to the witness stand where he referred to Masetlha as someone he had become "wary" of.
Masetlha's advocate Neil Tuchten said yesterday his client had now been vindicated. - Sapa