Cele’s defamation lawsuit dismissed
Former police commissioner Bheki Cele’s defamation lawsuit against the Sowetan has been dismissed.
The newspaper said Cele had taken issue with two news reports and an altered photograph, showing him clutching a firearm, which it published in 2007.
In the reports, Cele was quoted as telling a business gathering in Kwazulu-Natal that police should “shoot to kill” criminals when threatened.
The second report stated that eight criminals had been killed less than 10 days after he allegedly made the “shoot to kill remarks”.
Cele had argued in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg that he did not instruct members of the SA Police Service to “shoot to kill”. However, he agreed in his testimony to using the terms “aim for the head” and “use deadly force”.
According to the report, Cele submitted that members of the public might have interpreted the articles to mean that the deaths of the people mentioned were as a result of his statements.
The court concluded last Thursday that the statements Cele had admitted to making were the equivalent of “shoot to kill”.
“This certainly makes it more probable than not that the plaintiff made the statement ‘shoot to kill’,” the court reportedly said in its ruling.
Regarding the altered photograph, the court ruled that any reasonable person would have plainly seen the image had been altered.