UKZN to foot bill for prof’s appeal?

2007-11-24 00:00

University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal (UKZN) communications head, Professor Dasarath Chetty, has lost his appeal in a high-profile defamation case in the Grahamstown High Court, landing the institution with a hefty bill believed to be close to a quarter of a million rand.

Academics yesterday protested what they say is a waste of valuable resources as UKZN not only funded Chetty’s initial defamation suit against Rhodes University’s Professor Jimi Adesina, but will also have to pick up the bill for the appeal. It will also have to shoulder Adesina’s costs.

They said that although the exact legal costs were not known, they feared they could climb still higher if Chetty refuses to concede defeat. Chetty confirmed yesterday that his attorney is studying the judgment and that he will decide on whether to take this further shortly.

Chetty sued Adesina for R100 000 after Adesina publicly criticised him for trying to stop UKZN’s staff commenting to the press during the controversial strike in February 2006. The court found in Adesina’s favour in February 2007.

As executive director of Public and Corporate Communications, Chetty requested that staff refer all press queries to his department in the wake of looming industrial action. Adesina responded, pointing to an authoritarian approach that appeared to be “a clear and present danger”.

Adesina openly warned Chetty that he risked bringing the entire intellectual community into disrepute.

Chetty appealed and this case was heard on October 19. Judgment was handed down on Thursday and the appeal overturned — again with costs.

Reeves Parsee, Adesina’s attorney, said the judgment was based on the fact that Adesina’s observations could be regarded as fair comment as Chetty’s actions could have been viewed as “a gagging order” given the volatile mood on campus at the time.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.