Malema v Rawula (139/2020) [2021] ZASCA 88

25th June 2021

Malema v Rawula (139/2020) [2021] ZASCA 88

Click here to read the full judgment on Saflii

[1]             The appellant, Mr Julius Sello Malema, is the President of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the third largest political party in South Africa, and a Member of Parliament (MP). The Deputy President of the EFF is Mr Floyd Shivambu, also an MP. The respondent is a former member of the EFF who resigned from the party in April 2019. He served on its highest decision-making body, the Central Command Team (CCT), represented it in Parliament and was the National Chairperson of the EFF’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC).


[2]             On 5 April 2019 the respondent posted a statement on his Facebook page entitled, ‘EFF REMAINS A FINANCIAL FISHING NET FOR THE PAIR, AN ANTITHESIS OF EVERYTHING IT [PURPORTS TO BE]. I AM NOW UNLEASHED, WHO CARES?’. I shall refer to the statement as the Facebook post.


[3]             On 18 April 2019 the appellant applied to the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Port Elizabeth (the high court), for an order declaring that the Facebook post was unlawful and defamatory; restraining the respondent from publishing any further defamatory statements; and directing him to pay damages in the sum of R1 million. The high court dismissed the application. The appeal is with its leave.


[4]             The respondent appeared in person at the hearing of the appeal, as he had done in the high court. He indicated that he did not wish to address this Court and would abide by its decision.