Judge Hennie de Vos in the Pretoria High Court has struck from the roll an urgent application to remove articles from the GroundUp, Citizen and Daily Dispatch websites.
In November, GroundUp published an article describing the dealings between Lesley Ramulifho, a Pretoria-based attorney, and the National Lotteries Commission. We published two follow-up articles in December and March. The three articles have been re-published in various outlets, including Daily Dispatch and The Citizen.
On 4 April Ramulifho and his firm, Ramulifho Incorporated Attorneys, served papers on GroundUp, Daily Dispatch and The Citizen, as well as journalist Raymond Joseph, the first author on the stories. They asked the court to urgently order the publications to remove all articles from their websites that make any reference to Ramulifho. They also asked the court to order the publications to publish a retraction, and not to publish any further articles about Ramulifho, pending further litigation.
All three publications opposed the application. The case was heard on Tuesday and Wednesday. De Vos decided the application was not urgent, and struck it from the roll on Wednesday. He also awarded costs against Ramulifho.
Ramulifho can still ask the court to hear his application, but not as a matter of urgency.