Decision: Appeal Hearing
Applicant: Tuwani Mulaudzi
Respondent: Sunday Times
2. The gist of the applicant’s complaint was that he was referred to in the article as a crook or a fraudster. He also complained that he was not given an opportunity to comment. The respondent said it had taken steps to contact him, without success. They also argue, in this respect, that the story was based on a court judgment, and were therefore not obliged to obtain the applcant’s prior comment. Respondent also argues that the applicant was not referred to as a crook or fraudster.
3. In his Ruling dated 4 July 2017, the Ombud dismissed the complaint. Thereafter the applicant filed an application for leave to appeal the Ruling. For the application to succeed, the applicant must show reasonable prospects of success before the Appeals Panel.
4. I have gone through the article. I do not find any place where the applicant is referred to as a crook or fraudster. What it says is that the applicant “is accused of defrauding Old Mutual …”. Secondly, the information (such as that a provisional order of attachment was obtained against the applicant) was obtained from court records, in which case, no comment is needed from the appellant as long as the reporting is balanced. Thirdly, as the Ombud has found, the article is not principally about the applicant; he is very much in the periphery. For the above reasons and those given by the Ombud, I am afraid the applicant has no reasonable prospects of success before the Appeals Panel; the application is therefore dismissed.
Dated this 3rd day of August 2017
Judge B M Ngoepe, Chair, Appeals Panel