When this appeal was heard on 16 November 2020, the matter was struck off the roll. The reason was that the order of the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria (the high court) against which the appeal lay, was not appealable, notwithstanding leave to appeal having been granted by the high court. The order was an interim interdict pending an action to be instituted by the respondents. The crux of the controversy is whether the order was ‘final in effect’ and was therefore, indeed, appealable, or, even if its true character was interim, the interests of justice warranted an appeal against it to be entertained.
 The circumstances giving rise to the litigation have their origin in a letter sent on 26 June 2018 to the President of the Republic by the appellants, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), a political party, and its leader Mr Bantu Holomisa. The letter contained allegations that the several respondents, who are in business, had conducted themselves unlawfully in various ways in relation to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). A request was made to the President to cause these allegations against the respondents to be investigated. The letter was also published to the world on the UDM website. The respondents contend the remarks were defamatory. As a result, the respondents sought interim relief pending an action for damages for the alleged defamation.