Buthelezi loses R200 000 defamation case against newspaper

2012-09-19 09:43

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has lost his R200 000 defamation lawsuit against Business Day, which quoted political analyst Protas Madlala describing him as a “violent man”.

Buthelezi sued the daily, its publishers BDFM, former editor Peter Bruce and Madlala for the June 30 2010 news report, demanding R200 000 with interest and costs of his lawsuit, an apology and a retraction.

However, South Gauteng High Court Judge Nigel Willis dismissed Buthelezi’s case, saying it could not be defamatory because of its “simplicity and lucid beauty”.

“It leaves open the possibility that the Prince (Buthelezi) is not complicit in KwaZulu-Natal’s political violence (in which case there is no defamation),” Willis said in his judgment handed down yesterday.

He said the article recognised that there are those who believe Buthelezi is violent.

Buthelezi had argued that the article portrayed him as a violent man, willing or intending to use the threat of violence against political opponents within the IFP.

At the time, Buthelezi was facing strong opposition from the IFP’s former chairperson Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, who later started her own party, the National Freedom Party.

Willis dismissed Buthelezi’s claim with costs, meaning he will have to pay Bruce and BDFM’s legal fees.

Buthelezi’s lawyer, Lourens de Klerk, said they still have to consider their next move.

“We will browse through the judgment and decide what to do,” De Klerk said.

Attempts to contact Bruce, now BDFM’s publisher, were unsuccessful.

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