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Penguin Random House South Africa (Pty) Limited and Another v Nexor 312 (Pty) Limited and Another [2022] ZAKZDHC 10


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Penguin Random House South Africa (Pty) Limited and Another v Nexor 312 (Pty) Limited and Another [2022] ZAKZDHC 10

Legal gavel

4th March 2022


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Click here to read the full judgment on Saflii

[1] On the 16th April 2019 the respondents in this application, Nexor 312 (Pty) Limited and Vikash Bharathlall Narsai (‘the plaintiffs’) instituted action out of this court against the applicants, Penguin Random House South Africa (Pty) Limited (‘Penguin’) and Pieter-Louis Myburgh (‘Mr Myburgh’) (‘the defendants’).


[2] The plaintiffs’ cause of action is that during March or April 2019 Penguin published a book written by Mr Myburgh. The book was published throughout the Republic of South Africa, and made available in electronic form, both nationally and internationally. In the defendants’ plea they described the book as ‘a work of investigative journalism primarily about the former Premier of the Free State Province and the current Secretary General of the African National Congress, Ace Magashule’, and the book exposes alleged impropriety, maladministration and corruption. The plaintiffs take exception to the contents of chapter 16 of the book which is entitled, ‘Zuma’s Vrede “Thank you-fee”’.

[3] The plaintiffs aver that various statements in chapter 16 allege corrupt and dishonest activities by them, in their involvement with government contracts. In their particulars of claim, they identify twelve specific portions of chapter 16, which they aver are defamatory of them, and were intended to convey that: they were participants in corrupt activities; they paid bribes to secure access to tender work; they unlawfully obtained work outside of lawful tender processes by way of corrupting government officials; and that they were participants in schemes to defraud the government, by siphoning-off funds intended for housing projects, for the benefit of corrupt government officials and themselves. They also allege that the allegations are false. In the result they claim that they have each suffered general damages in the sum of R5 million.



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