Spotlight today received a letter from lawyers representing Sadmon Consulting CC and its sole director Mr Cyril Sadiki threatening legal action should Spotlight publish any further articles relating to Sadmon’s R352-million contract with the Department of Health. Parts 1 and 2 of the Sadmon Files series were published yesterday and today and can be read here and here.
The letter from Sadmon’s lawyers alleges that the two articles published so far are “void of substance and slanderous”. Spotlight strongly denies these allegations. We stand by the article, the publication of which was lawful.
The five-part “Sadmon Files” series is based mainly on documents that are in the public domain and which Spotlight obtained from the National Department of Health following a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). Sadmon unsuccessfully opposed Spotlight’s PAIA request at the time.
Spotlight has the right to freedom of expression and is entitled to report on the information obtained from the PAIA request and to express views in the articles regarding such information.
We have responded to Sadmon’s lawyer expressing our intention to proceed with the publication of the remaining three parts of the Sadmon Files series. Part 3 will be published tomorrow morning (Wednesday 21 November 2018).
Our lawyer have urged Sadmon’s lawyer’s to take note that a prior restraint on publication would be unlawful and invited their attention to the cases of Midi Television (Pty) Ltd v Director of Public Prosecutions (Western Cape) 2007 (3) All SA 318 (SCA) and Print Media South Africa and Another v Minister of Home Affairs and Another 2012 (6) SA 443 (CC).
Spotlight considers this series of articles scrutinising the R352-million Department of Health and Sadmon contract to be in the public interest – both because of the amount of money involved and for the importance of effective and high quality health communications given South Africa’s various health challenges.