Sisulu must pay for defamation

2012-02-11 07:50

The High Court in Pretoria has ordered Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to pay the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) R40 000 in damages for defamation.

Judge Jody Kollapen ruled that Sandu had been defamed in a 2007 article in the department of defence publication “South African Soldier”.

The article accused the union of unlawfully deducting over R4 million in fees from its members.
Kollapen ordered Sisulu, Secretary of Defence Mpumi Mpofu, SA National Defence Force chief General Solly Shoke and officials involved in the publication to pay the R40 000.

Sandu initially claimed R500 000 in damages.

Kollapen found that R40 000 was sufficient because the effect of the article was not significant, and it had not negatively impacted on the union’s membership.
Sandu and the Defence Force have been at loggerheads about the union’s membership fees for several years.

This culminated in the SANDF refusing to deduct any fees from Sandu members’ salaries and the union obtaining a court order, forcing the department to deduct a fee of R47 per month.

The SANDF believed at the time that Sandu was only entitled to a fee of R22 per month and that any further deductions were unlawful.

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