GroundUp's court cases
The following are live matters as of 26 August 2022. We are confident the applicants in the cases below against GroundUp have no reasonable grounds for litigating.
Iqbal Survé's letter of demand
After GroundUp published an article criticising Independent Media for taking the side of people implicated in Lottery corruption, we received a letter of demand from a lawyer for Independent Media and Iqbal Survé. Since then we and the Daily Maverick have received a summons and we've filed our plea.
We'd consider it a badge of honour to be sued by Survé except that he has already pursued vexatious and vindictive litigation against so many other people before us.
The Ferreira family v GroundUp (case withdrawn)
UPDATE ON 19 AUGUST 2022: The Ferreira family have withdrawn their court action. The case is over.
In 2018, GroundUp wrote an article about a small protest by workers at Endulini Farms. Pieter Ferreira, who owns the farm, sent a complaint about the article to the Press Ombudsman. The complaint was dismissed. His application for leave to appeal was also dismissed. Now, Ferreira and three of his companies (Endulini Fruit, Endulini Sundays River Fruit, and Galactic Deals 138) are suing us for R2 million.
Frankly, it is bizarre that a man who has been ruled against by both the Press Ombudsman and the Press Appeals Panel is now choosing to have a second bite at the cherry by suing us in court instead of taking the Ombudsman's ruling on review. Moreover the application was lodged about a month before the statute of limitations on defamation expired. We believe this litigation is vexatious and vindictive and will be asking the High Court in Gqeberha for a punitive cost order against Ferreira.
- The article
- Press Ombudsman's ruling
- Application for leave to appeal against the rule of the Press Ombudsman
- Our response
- The summons
Yashoda Ram v GroundUp
Lawyers for Yashoda Ram, the provisional curator of NUMSA’s insurer 3Sixty Life, have sent GroundUp a letter of demand asking us to remove an article. We refused.
Alfred Nevhuthanda v GroundUp
In response to an article by GroundUp describing Alfred Nevhuthanda's unlawful use of the National Lotteries Commission's funds to purchase an estate for R27 million, Nevhuthanda's lawyers sent a letter to GroundUp demanding the article be taken down because the article included pictures of his house. We refused.
Fikile Mbalula v GroundUp
Lawyers for the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, sent GroundUp a letter of demand asking us to publish an apology for an article we wrote and to pay him a sum of R2 million in compensation. We responded and have not heard back since.
Lesley Ramulifho v GroundUp
Lesley Ramulifho, a corrupt lawyer and forger, has, since 2019, been attempting to get an interdict to compel GroundUp to remove articles that mention his name in relation to lottery corruption. He attempted to take the case as an urgent matter in April 2019 but the judge threw it out. Then, he filed an affidavit with forged documents, including a bogus bank statement, to an affidavit in the matter. GroundUp consequently lodged a complaint against Ramulifho with the Legal Practice Council (LPC) but the LPC declined to investigate Ramulifho.
GroundUp v Legal Practice Council
Because the LPC declined to investigate Ramulifho, we have decided to take them to court to have their decision reviewed. The LPC has chosen not to oppose the case, but Ramulifho is opposing.
UPDATE ON 19 AUGUST 2022: The case will be heard in the Gauteng High Court on 7 November
Phillemon Letwaba v GroundUp
The National Lotteries Comission chief operating officer, Phillemon Letwaba, is suing GroundUp and Raymond Joseph because of 6 articles in which Letwaba is accused of nepotism and acting in conflict of interest.
Pinky Khosa v GroundUp
Lawyers for Pinky Khosa, a director of the non-profit organisation Lulamisa Community Development, sent GroundUp a letter of demand asking us to remove an article and to issue an apology. We responded via email and have not heard back since.