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Botswana newspaper sanctioned over Motsepe report

Publish date: 02 December 2019
Issue Number: 852
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

SA businessman Patrice Motsepe was successful in his bid to prevent a Botswana weekly from publishing negative stories about him relating to a fierce internal political battle in that country. Almost eight months after the Sunday Standard published an article alleging that Motsepe smuggled R22m to pay for the political campaign for a rival to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, it has been muzzled by a court. In a judgment that was made public on Friday, Justice Gabriel Komboni ‘interdicted and restrained’ the newspaper from ‘publishing and/or disseminating directly and indirectly false and/or defamatory allegations’ about Motsepe. The Daily Maverick reports that it also has to ‘remove any and all false and/or defamatory statements or references relating to or regarding (Motsepe)’ published on its website and any other social media platform. Komboni has also ordered the newspaper to pay the cost of Motsepe’s application, which included two counsel, and he has given Motsepe 30 days to move his defamation application against the paper. The report notes that Motsepe has claimed damaged of R6.7m after the newspaper published a story stating he smuggled money to fund the party presidential campaign of former Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. Sunday Standard editor Outsa Mokone told Daily Maverick the paper will appeal. 'Our lawyers have advised us to appeal the judgment in the interest of press freedom in Botswana,' he said.

Full Daily Maverick report