Bosasa denied leave to appeal in M&G case

The high court judgment allowed the Mail & Guardian and its former reporter, Adriaan Basson, to protect the identity of sources who provided information that formed part of the basis for a series of articles alleging graft in massive prisons tenders.

Download the full judgment.

Bosasa is suing the newspaper for defamation, and had demanded that the M&G and Basson provide unredacted versions of documentary evidence that featured in the investigation of its relationship with senior department of correctional services officials as part of the legal discovery process ahead of trial.

Judge Tsoka ruled, however, that protecting the anonymity of sources  was crucial to to the ability of the press to carry out its democratic function, which includes revealing corruption: "It is essential that in carrying out this public duty for the public good, the identity of their sources should not be revealed", he said.

"This essential and critical role of the media, which is more pronounced in our nascent democracy, founded on openness, where corruption has become cancerous, needs to be fostered rather than denuded," he added.


Handing down his ruling denying leave to appeal, Judge Tsoka said on Thursday that in his view no court would come to a different conclusion.

Bosasa still has the option to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal directly for leave to appeal.

M&G editor-in-chief Nic Dawes said he was pleased by the decision: "Judge Tsoka's original finding was an important precedent on source protection, bringing our common law in line with the constitutional recognition of press freedom. There can be no investigative journalism without the brave people who blow the whistle, and we must be able to stand by our commitment to keep confidential their identities.

"If Bosasa wishes to continue with their defamation suit, which we believe is without merit, we hope that they will now do so on the basis of the facts, rather than using it as an opportunity to hunt for those who were prepared to assist in revealing those facts".

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Marcia Mayaba —Driven to open doors for women

Marcia Mayaba has been in the motor industry for 24 years, donning hats that include receptionist, driver, fuel attendant, dealer principal and now chief...

The war on women in video game culture

Women and girls make up almost half of the gaming community but are hardly represented and face abuse in the industry

More top stories

In emotive missive, Zuma says he will not provide answering...

Former president Jacob Zuma on Wednesday submitted a 21-page letter to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng out of “respect”, to let the head of the...

Gordhan writes to JSC to clarify ‘incidental’ mention of Pillay...

Public enterprises minister denies that he tried to influence the appointment of a judge and friend to the SCA in 2016

The battle for 2050 energy dominance: Nuclear industry makes its...

Nuclear sector says it should be poised to take up more than 50% of the 24GW left vacant by coal

#SayHerName: The faces of South Africa’s femicide epidemic

This is an ode to the women whose names made it into news outlets from 2018 to 2020. It’s also a tribute to the faceless, nameless women whose stories remain untold.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…