This new claim against the Afrikaans Sunday paper comes shortly after an out-of-court settlement had been reached with regard to another R5-million claim.
A third R5-million claim against the paper was pending, said Liesl GÃƒÂ¶ttert from The Media Specialists who acts as Zuma’s spokesperson on these matters. A court date was being awaited, she said. (Tim du Plessis, !_LT_EMRapport’!_LT_/EMs editor, has since the publication of this story denied that a third claim is pending).
Zuma’s latest claim against Rapport is related to the heading “Piekniek by Dingaan” (“Picnic at Dingaan(‘s)”) which accompanied a photo of Zuma, singer Steve Hofmeyr and comedian Leon Schuster. It was published on 30 December as part of the paper’s overview of the past year.
Editor Tim du Plessis could not be reached immediately for comment about the new claim.
Zuma and Rapport yesterday (Wednesday) reached an out-of-court settlement with Rapport, totalling R50,000 and legal costs. This claim of R5-million followed the publication in April 2006 of a reader’s letter related to Zuma’s rape case, Rapport reported on its website. Zuma has since been acquitted of the rape charge.
Du Plessis said in the report, in this case, media freedom and freedom of speech were not the issue. Du Plessis said he believed this case was “fundamentally” different from Zuma’s other defamation claims. “If Mr Zuma had sued us based on a cartoon, an editorial or an opinion piece, we would have fought it to the highest court.”
Zuma lodged claims against Rapport, !_LT_EMThe Star!_LT_/EM, Sunday Times, 94.7 Highveld Stereo, Citizen, Sunday Sun, Sunday World and Sunday Independent, to the sum of R63-million in 2006. The new claim against Rapport is Zuma’s 14!_LT_SUPth!_LT_/SUP claim in this series.
Following the settlement, 13 claims are still pending. According to GÃƒÂ¶ttert, other settlements are currently not in the pipeline, but Zuma is open to discussions on possible settlements.
Ã¢Â–Â SABCnews.com reported today that the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) had said the settlement was “unfortunate”.