Police chief’s defamation case against newspaper postponed

National police commissioner General Bheki Cele’s defamation case against the Sowetan newspaper was postponed in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The parties were not ready and a new date had not been set.

Thabo Leshilo, who was editor at the time, said in a statement the case related to a graphic they used of Cele when he was KwaZulu-Natal’s safety minister.

The newspaper reported on Wednesday that Cele was claiming R200 000 for defamation over a picture, on July 6 2007, of him wearing a trench coat and hat, and carrying a rifle with the headline: “Police must aim for the head.”

The same picture was used in a follow-up article on July 16.

The article stated the police had shot dead eight suspects within 10 days after Cele said: “Police must aim for the head.”

Cele felt the “superimposed” picture portrayed him as a man of arms and painted him as a person with “murderous intent”.

This portrayed him in a false light and was humiliating and degrading, Cele’s lawyer was expected to argue. — Sapa

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