Zuma media claims an 'intimidation tactic'

Johannesburg - The 14 large defamation claims totalling about R60m that President Jacob Zuma has instituted against the media since 2006 may instead end up costing him dearly.

All of the claims relate to alleged slander and defamation, reported Die Burger.

Thursday is the last day for the president to hand over documents relating to six claims he instituted against the media.

Amongst others, Zuma is claiming R5m in two claims against Jonathan Shapiro for Zapiro cartoons that appeared in The Star.

“If the deadline is missed today, we will apply for a court order against President Zuma to hand over the documents. If he misses the deadline again, we will ask that the claims be dropped,” said Dario Milo who is appearing for Independent Newspapers, Avusa and The Citizen.

Legal fees

Earlier this year, two claims against Rapport and one against the Sunday Sun were dropped and Zuma was instructed to pay the legal fees.

Out of 14 matters, only one was decided in Zuma’s favour. Media24 paid R50 000 for a letter that was published in Rapport. 

Zuma’s legal representative, Michael Hulley, did not want to comment on the story.

Media lawyers said they doubted whether Zuma was really serious about the claims and said they were possibly being used as an intimidation tactic to keep the media in check.

Milo said the ease with which claims were instituted between 2006 and 2010 but then neglected could point to Zuma never really being serious about them in the first place.

In October, Zuma also dropped another claim against Shapiro and the Sunday Times.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 509 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 6241 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
11% - 816 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.