NATIONAL NEWS - The North Gauteng High Court has thrown out a R5-million damages claim launched by Peterson Siyaya after he was labelled a “businessman” and “trade unionist” in media reports linking him to the ongoing domestic drama between former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Gigaba’s estranged wife, Norma Mngoma.
Judge Elizabeth Kubushi on Thursday found the statements that Siyaya had taken issue with did not lower his reputation in the eyes of a reasonable person, The Citizen reports.
“At worst, the statements are neutral and may in fact increase the esteem in which some members of the community hold him,” she said.
Siyaya approached the court with an urgent application against eNCA, City Press, Sunday Times, The Sunday World and The Citizen last month, over reports identifying him as the owner of a G-class Mercedes Benz that Mngoma allegedly damaged during a violent outburst.
He argued the car was in fact not his – even though according to eNCA it was subsequently booked into Renewit panel beaters in Sandton, with Siyaya responsible for the insurance.
He also argued while he was listed as a director of five companies, he was in fact currently unemployed and that he left the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) last year.
In addition Siyaya took umbrage with references to him having been “arrested and later released on charges related to the murder of AMCU members,” when these were attempted murder charges levelled against him in connection with one individual.
As well as with Sunday World having repeated a jibe Mngoma allegedly made at Siyaya – that “he was a dog and that he contracted HIV/Aids because of sleeping with cougars” – prompting him to lay a charge of crimen injuria against her.
But Kubushi on Thursday found none of the offending statements were accusatory of Siyaya.
“They do not intend to defame or vilify Mr Siyaya. His name crops up only because he is somehow involved in the Gigaba’s domestic dispute.
“What is mentioned about him, is mentioned in passing by way of background.
“The nature of the information reported about Mr Siyaya is meant only to inform the reader who Mr Siyaya is and nothing else. The focus of the story is not on him per se,” she said.
She dismissed his claim and slapped him with a costs order.