Appeal Decision: Stratcol Ltd vs Moneyweb

Decision: Application for leave to appeal

Applicant: Moneyweb

Respondent: Stratcol Ltd

Matter No: 29/2014

Decision: Application for Leave to appeal to the Appeals Panel

  1. The applicant, Moneyweb, wants leave to appeal to the Appeals Panel, a Ruling by a Panel of Adjudicators handed down in this matter on 7 April 2014.  It was a decision of a three member panel.  The Ruling followed the complaint which had been lodged by Stratcol Ltd, respondent, following an article published on 5 February 2014 headlined “I lost R33 000 to dodgy debit orders – business man”.  The crux of the story related to debit orders, some of which were said to be in dispute or irregular.  Subsequent articles on the same topic followed.
  2. The Panel of Adjudicators found that the applicant acted in breach of articles 2.5 and 4.2  of the South African Press Code.  A sanction was then imposed; hence this application.
  3. In its application for leave to appeal, the applicant raises a few points into which I do not think it would be appropriate to delve, given the conclusion I am minded to come to.  After considering the matter on its merits in relation to the specific findings of the Panel of Adjudicators, namely, that the above two articles were violated, and having considered submissions by both parties, I am of the view that the applicant has reasonable prospects of success against the Ruling of the Appeals Panel.  My decision has also been influenced by the fact that certain material facts are common cause, or at least not in dispute.  Leave is therefore hereby granted to the applicant to appeal to the Appeals Panel against the Ruling of the Adjudication Panel, dated 7 April 2014, namely, that the applicant contravened articles 2.5 and 4.2 of the South African Press Code. As I have said above, it would not be appropriate for me, when granting leave, to go into a discussion of the merits of the case, or the merits of the competing submissions; these will be dealt with by the Appeals Panel.

Date: 9 June 2014

Judge B M Ngoepe, Chair, Appeals Panel