Harith’s statement to the media:

In a groundbreaking decision by the Constitutional Court, Harith General Partners (“Harith”), a leading pan-African infrastructure investment company, has won a major legal victory against Mr. Bantu Galamisa and the United Democratic Movement (UDM).

The Constitutional Court rejected the appeal of Holamisa and the UDM against the High Court’s decision in favor of Harit and his interlocutors represented by lawyers Nicqui Galaktiou Inc. with reimbursement of court costs. The ruling ultimately ruled, except on one technicality, against UDM leader Holomisa’s appeal to lift a temporary injunction barring him from making defamatory statements about Harith. This confirms the previous position of the courts that politicians, and especially Galamis in this case, cannot make and distribute defamatory statements in public under the protection of parliamentary secrecy. The court goes so far as to state:

“The petitioners had no right to baselessly defame the respondents under the guise of fulfilling a constitutional duty. At the same time, in my opinion, the publication of unverified slanderous information was not in the interest of society. When a public figure openly defames members of the public, admitting that he or she does not know the truth of what he or she is saying, his or her right to free speech may be fairly limited. In the premises, the appellants have failed in their duty to lay a foundation for the defense that the allegations were true and in the public interest.’

This decision marks the end of a long appeals process initiated by Holomisa and UDM since their initial legal losses in June 2018. This decision confirms the proper application of fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression, especially by leaders in political office. Members of Parliament cannot simply abuse their parliamentary privilege by attacking businesses and individuals outside of established parliamentary channels.

Harith has maintained his position and integrity throughout the process, opposing Holomisa’s applications to the High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Harit will continue legal proceedings against UDM and Holomisa for defamation damages. CEO Harith Sipho Makhubela said: “This legal victory belongs to our stakeholders, investors and employees who have supported us through the last difficult years, believing that we, as good corporate citizens, conduct our business in good faith and in accordance with the law. We look forward to being able to focus on our important work of investing in Africa’s infrastructure without the distraction of politicians.”

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