In the high court of south africa eastern cape division, grahamstown


DEFENCES Truth and public benefit



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DEFENCES
Truth and public benefit
29. It is difficult to raise defences when the MEC has not raised specific comments
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[2001] 4 All SAC) at D
– F.


- 10 - in her affidavits that specify how each is defamatory. Instead she simply says that all of them are defamatory and imply that she is corrupt, incompetent, lacking in integrity, involved in criminal enterprises, taking part in criminal activity and/or a liar.
30. We submit that the MEC has not included all the relevant Facebook posts. The respondent has in a supplementary affidavit referred to the background documents that informed the contents of the post.
31. Apart from the submission that the comments ask questions of the Premier based on reports in the media and/or documents that are in the public domain, the respondent submits that the comments are substantially true.
32. The best evidence of this- in motion proceedings-is to refer to documents related to his post.
33. We submit that the statements can be divided broadly into 3 categories (i) those that say that the MEC has personal relationships with her subordinates (ii) that the administrative centre (depicted in the photographs) of her department controls her and thereby her department (iii) that her department is corrupt and has manipulated tenders.
34. Notably, other than saying that these statements are false and defamatory the
MEC says nothing about why these statements that have been made of her in the public domain are false. Admittedly, she does not bear the onus to prove the


- 11 - falsity. The respondent has the onus of proving truth and public benefit.
35. To this extent the respondent has attached documents that point to the truth of his comments and questions posed by his posts.
36. We submit that the respondent is prejudiced as he cannot call witnesses to prove the truth of his posts. This, we repeat, is because these are motion proceedings.
37. Nevertheless, in regard to (i) above the respondent annexes to his supplementary affidavit the affidavit of Amanda Zono who claims she was fired from the department because she shared a boyfriend with the MEC
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. He also attaches the City Press article headed “MEC, ex-lovers in jobs-for-pals scandal 38. The PSC report annexed to the supplementary affidavit is evidence of impropriety in the department The findings are that the department hired persons without the right qualifications for positions in the department. The MEC must beheld accountable for this.
39. The letter from the Head of Department speaks to this and shows further that the
MEC ignored the advice of Counsel who was employed to consider the issue.
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Annexure SA to the SA at pp.
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Annexure SA to the SA at pp.
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Annexure SA to the SA at pp.


- 12 -
40. The MEC must beheld responsible. By her own admission, as evidenced by the article in the Daily Dispatch, that she protected certain of these individuals 41. In regard to (iii) the respondent annexes an enquiry from the Hawks which evidences tender manipulation and corruption in the department. The MEC is head of the department and must beheld accountable for such corruption.
42. At the very least the respondent should be given the opportunity to prove the truth of his statements if this Court holds that he has a case to answer. This could be done in atrial. It goes without saying that the truth of these statements is in the public benefit. The MEC holds public office and heads a department of government. She should be beyond reproach.
44. Instead, the MEC is embroiled in litigation to clear her name. In the case of
Weziwe Tikana-Gxotiwe v Holomisa
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, Bloem J commented on her impropriety regarding the Moica Lodge which is owned by her daughter. In that case 18 patients were quarantined at Moica Lodge by the Health department.
45. The department is also being investigated by the Hawks for tender manipulation as evidenced by annexure SA to the Supplementary Affidavit.
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Annexure SA at pp.
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[2020] ZAECGHC 54 Pp 228-234


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