The executive mayor of Polokwane (Pietersburg) in Limpopo, Freddy Greaver, and the City Press newspaper have reached a settlement over his defamation case, editor Ferial Haffajee said on Wednesday.
“Mr Greaver started off by suing the newspaper for R15 million. We agreed to apologise and settled at R100,000,” Haffajee said.
“We never meant to implicate Greaver as corrupt and I have learned that when you publish a graphic image, you need to add explanatory text.”
The settlement was reached in the Polokwane High Court on Tuesday.
Though both parties were not present, Judge Francis Legodi read the settlement signed by the affected parties’ legal representatives.
The newspaper was ordered to publish an apology on Sunday, give Greaver the right to reply, and Greaver was rewarded R100,000 in damages.
The City Press was also ordered to pay for the legal costs incurred. The court ordered the money to be paid within 30 days.
The newspaper published graphics and an article depicting Greaver as part of the “Limpopo mafia” — a group of politicians and business people involved in awarding tenders to companies with links to expelled former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.
The story was published on August 21 last year.
Haffajee said the graphic was intended to show the network of power.
Greaver was the only person mentioned in the article who took legal action against the paper. Those mentioned included Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale and some MECs.
A statement from the City of Polokwane said Greaver had emerged victorious.
“They [City Press] reluctantly admitted that councillor Greaver was not guilty of any corruption or abuse of his office,” spokesman Simon Mokoatedi said. – Sapa