Ex-MTN CEO Sues Times E600 000
Times of Swaziland newspaper E600 000 for defamation.
In papers filed at the Industrial Court, Khumalo says on 5th April, 2008 the newspaper maliciously published an article about him.
Khumalo says the statement or general contents of the article insinuated the following;
a) That he lacked the pre-requisite administrative qualities to be Chief Executive Officer of Swazi MTN.
b) That the reason for his appointment to Rwanda MTN was because he was being transferred from Swazi MTN since he lacked the necessary pre-requisite administrative skills. He says the same article insinuated that although being a married man, he was involved in an extra-marital relationship and that he was biased towards some of the employees.
Khumalo says the statements are defamatory of him as a public figure perceived as a man of good standing.
“The plaintiff (Khumalo) is further employed by a very large international company, MTN,” he states.
“The newspaper receives tremendous coverage both locally and internationally and undoubtedly this article contained on the third page got immense readership globally.
“In the premise, the plaintiff’s dignity and reputation has been severely injured both locally and internationally as a result of the defamatory publication and as such, the plaintiff sustained damages in the sum of E600 000.)
Khumalo is currently based in South Africa. He claims the contents of the article suggested that he did not possess the required administrative acumen to head a large and international corporate like MTN.
“Further thereto, the statement insinuated that the plaintiff headed the corporate as if it were his own and disregarded corporate governance,” he states.
“The plaintiff states that he was not biased in favour of some of the employees as he required all employees to perform their duties in accordance with their professional skills in furtherance of Swazi MTN’s policies.
“The plaintiff denies that his appointment to Rwanda MTN was brought about by the allegations made in the article. The plaintiff was not transferred to Rwanda but was appointed. The reason for such appointment was not based on the allegations stated in the article.”
Khumalo is being represented by lawyer Zweli Jele, of Robinson Bertram law firm while Musa Sibandze is defending the newspaper.
Times of Swaziland stands by its article - lawyers
THE newspaper denies that the statement published was malicious.
The company argues that the contents of the article were not defamatory nor did they suggest the meaning ascribed to them by Themba Khumalo (plaintiff).
It contends that no reasonable person reading the article would have reached Khumalo’s conclusions. “The defendant (newspaper) admits publishing the statement, but however, denies that the said publication was made maliciously and states that this statement was true and in the public interest,” it claims. “The defendant was not negligent in publishing the statement and facts relied upon were that there were a number of complaints by the employees at the time, the plaintiff was transferred to Rwanda. It is denied that the plaintiff suffered damages as computed.”
The case is pending at the High Court.
The article was published by the Times of Swaziland’s sister paper - Swazi News on 5th April, 2008
Ex-MTN CEO Sues Times E600 000
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