Motsepe slaps Sunday Standard with P5m lawsuit

Motsepe PIC:
Motsepe PIC:

South African business magnate, Patrice Motsepe, has instituted legal proceedings against local newspaper, Sunday Standard, demanding P5 million.

Motsepe through his attorneys, Armstrongs laid defamation charges over an article published by the newspaper on April 1, 2019 titled ‘New Jerusalem Vic Falls Secret Meeting Scuttled’. 

According to the court papers, the article contained the following statement of and concerning Motsepe: “By Friday, a team of Botswana Police Service officers were investigating a number of security companies which are allegedly being used to smuggle campaign money into the country.  This followed unconfirmed reports that South African mining tycoon Patrice Motsepe who is also brother to Brigette had donated R22 million to Venson-Moitoi’s campaign, which had already been smuggled into Botswana”. 

The attorneys state that the statement read in the context of the article as a whole, is defamatory of Motsepe and/or was intended to impute and was understood by readers of the article to impute that Motsepe acts illegally and is a dishonest businessman.  In publishing the offending statement, the defendant acted unlawfully and with the intention to injure the plaintiff in his reputation and to defame him, read the papers. 

“As a result of the publication of the offending statement, the plaintiff has been injured in his reputation and has suffered damages in the amount of P5,000,000.  In the premise, the defendant is liable to the plaintiff in the amount of P5,000,000. The article and the offending statement remain published on the website,” the lawyers said. 

In addition to the money, Motsepe demands that the newspaper publish within five days from date of the court order an apology to Motsepe on the frontpage and the website in terms whereof the apology, takes up a quarter of the page and remains published for seven calendar days with the following description:

“To the extent that the Sunday Standard has made statements on its website stating or implying that Dr Motsepe has behaved illegally and dishonestly, the Sunday Standard hereby unequivocally retracts all such statements and imputations, and unreservedly apologises that they were made. The Sunday Standard regrets any inconvenience caused to Dr Motsepe”. 

Motsepe’s lawyers also argue that Sunday Standard is also to remove the offending statement from its website. Further, they are to also pay the cost of suit on the attorney and client scale. The case is before Justice Tshepo Motswagole.

Editor's Comment
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When the pandemic reached Botswana’s shores last year March, a nation united in the quest to defeat an invisible enemy. It is a moment never witnessed in recent memory, with the catastrophes of the world war and the 1918 Spanish influenza being the only other comparisons in living memory. Botswana, like the rest of the world, had to readjust its priorities and channel most, if not all, of its energies towards fighting COVID-19. It has not been...

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