Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa suffered a major blow last night when he failed to interdict the publishing of a series of damning articles containing claims of his extramarital affairs with eight women.Ramaphosa went to the South Gauteng High Court last night in a bid to stop the newspaper from publishing a story which makes claims about his personal life emanating from alleged private emails.Ramaphosa yesterday described claims made about his personal life as an “episode [that] extends far beyond an attempt at political smear”.“It represents an escalation of a dirty war against those who are working to restore the values, principles and integrity of the African National Congress and society,” the presidential hopeful said in response to a message on social media purporting to be correspondence directed to him from a Sunday newspaper.A WhatsApp message has been doing the rounds, purporting to be correspondence directed to Ramaphosa from the Sunday Independent.Judge Bashier Vally did not hold back as he dismissed the urgent application brought by Ramaphosa against the Sunday Independent.He admonished the country’s number two for providing scant details to the court on what steps he took since Thursday (August 31) to indicate he could not meet Friday’s deadline for comment to the newspaper.He also failed to provide details to the court why he took his time to approach the court and leaving it up to the last minute. Ramaphosa, in an affidavit filed by his legal adviser on his behalf, claimed in court that he had received an undertaking from the newspaper’s boss, Iqbal Surve, that nothing would be published until such time as he (Ramaphosa) could respond.However, this conversation never included the newspaper’s editor, Steven Motale, who also sent questions to Ramaphosa through his private email.Ramaphosa’s team was admonished for failing to supply signed affidavits, leading to delays and even an adjournment to arrange to ensure that he meets the requirements.Vally said this was unacceptable on Ramaphosa’s part and insisted he would never hand down a default judgement.Vally struck the application off the roll and awarded costs to the Sunday Independent, whose editor attended court with bodyguards because of threats to his life. Ramaphosa’s legal representatives had advanced argument that their client had been informed Saturday midday of the newspaper’s intention to publish what it said was a series of stories that would damage his reputation. Their attempts to advance an argument that publishing the story amounted to a breach of privacy fell flat. The newspaper’s legal representatives, led by David Unterhalter, strongly advanced the argument that privacy had been lost due to the fact that the questions had circulated all over social media.“There is no doubt that these messages have been circulated as part of a deliberate campaign to smear the person of the deputy president. They are a transparent attempt to distort personal email correspondence that could only have been obtained through criminal means,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, said.Sunday Independent’s Motale said the outcome of the court application was a victory for media freedom.Motale said Ramaphosa had contributed immensely to the Constitution and that he should know better than to claim privacy when he holds public office.“He portrays himself as a paragon of moral value. He should know better,” said Motale.Seale said they would not be commenting on the court judgment.