Publication: The Natal Witness
Arms Deal Defamation Case Dropped
The Natal Witness
R500 000 defamation claim by businessman Richard Young against South African
Public Protector Selby Baqwa was turned down by the Pretoria High Court on
Baqwa issued a statement in August 2001 in which he told the
media that Young's behaviour could be seen as "cowardly".
This was after
Young and his legal team on August 30, 2001, excused themselves from the public
hearings of the joint investigation team into the strategic defence packages,
known as the arms deal.
Judge JMC Smit said in his judgment on Wednesday:
"It is inexplicable why the defendant [Baqwa] made this ill-considered statement
at a most inopportune moment during the proceedings, but that does not make the
"In my view it is most unfortunate that the Public
Protector made uncalled for remarks of the plaintiff during proceedings at a
stage when he was not even qualified or justified to make a credibility finding
on any of the witnesses, but that does not make the remarks
Young and his legal team walked out of the public hearings
shortly before Rear Admiral Johnny Kamerman of the navy was due to take the
stand. In leaving, Adam Pitman, Young's attorney and Young himself made certain
comments to the media.
Young, an electronics engineer, is the managing
director of CC11 Systems, also known as C121, who lost out on the arms
He claimed there were irregularities in the awarding of a tender
for information management systems used in the four Corvette ships bought under
the country's multi-billion rand arms deal.
Young is also involved in a
R150 million lawsuit against the government regarding his lost bid.
With acknowledgement to The Natal Witness.