Maharaj charges City Press
Andrew Trench and Thanduxolo Jika, City Press
Johannesburg - Mac Maharaj, President Jacob Zuma’s spindoctor, and his wife, Zarina, on Friday used an obscure remnant of apartheid law to lay a criminal complaint against City Press and Media24 Investigations over efforts to reveal details of their alleged lies to state investigators.
Their attorney, Rudi Krause, wrote to Media24 Investigations after we approached the couple for comment for a report to be published in City Press tomorrow.
Krause’s letter reveals that City Press had supposedly been reported to the police for, among others, breaching the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956.
The apartheid act, largely dismantled by the ANC government, was originally designed to “consolidate the laws relating to riotous assemblies and the prohibition of the engendering of feelings of hostility between the European and non-European inhabitants of the Republic”.
It so celebrated apartheid’s lunacy that satirical author Tom Sharpe once used it to title a famous novel, Riotous Assembly, set in South Africa.
Krause claimed City Press had also breached gagging provisions of the National Prosecuting Authority Act by using material from the court file of the Maharajs’ 2007 abandoned bid to challenge the constitutionality of a section of the NPA Act which was used to subject them to an interrogation.
He also claimed they had laid a criminal complaint, but in correspondence with City Press and Media24 Investigations’ legal representative, Willem de Klerk, declined to provide even the most basic details of the complaint.
Krause claimed the complaint to the police was about a breach of the gagging provisions of Section 41 of the NPA Act as well as a section of the Riotous Assemblies Act in which it is an offence to “conspire” with anyone to commit a statutory offence.
Maharaj has long claimed he is the victim of a political conspiracy.
Krause refused to disclose specifically who was the subject of the complaint, to whom the criminal complaint was made, the name of the investigating officer or the detail of the complaint but claimed the investigating officer was due to meet with a prosecutor on Monday to decide the course of action.
Three weeks ago, City Press republished material first published in 2007 about the couple’s interrogation, investigation and court case.
At the time Krause threatened to pursue a criminal charge against the paper and the authors of the report, Media24 Investigations team members Andrew Trench and Julian Rademeyer.
The Hawks are already investigating a similar complaint against Mail & Guardian investigative reporters even though they never published details of the Maharaj interrogations.