Jacques Pauw sues Piet Rampedi for R500k over 'child molester' remark

05 March 2020 - 20:48
By Nonkululeko Njilo
'The President's Keepers' author Jacques Pauw. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Alon Skuy 'The President's Keepers' author Jacques Pauw. File photo.

Author and veteran journalist Jacques Pauw on Thursday confirmed he was suing journalist Piet Rampedi for R500,000 after being described as a “child molester, racist and liar” on social media.

Pauw said in a statement that Rampedi made the allegations at least 16 times on Twitter and Facebook in February after he had penned an article exposing “falsehoods” by Rampedi in radio and television interviews about a “rogue unit” in the SA Revenue Service.

He said the allegations were widely retweeted, even by the likes of EFF leader Julius Malema.

“Rampedi’s recent tweets about me are untrue, defamatory, extremely hurtful and damage my reputation as a journalist. I am not a liar, racist or a paedophile. I have never touched any boys or any other children in Mozambique [in early 2000] or any other place in the world. I am happily married and been with my partner for 20 years,” said Pauw.

Attempts to reach Rampedi for his response to the latest development, by phone and text message, were unsuccessful at the time of publishing. This article will be updated if he responds.

Pauw's lawyer, Willem de Klerk, said Rampedi had failed to comply with Pauw’s demand on February 19 to apologise within 24 hours.

“We further record that, subsequent to receiving our aforesaid letter, Mr Rampedi announced on social media that he has no intention of retracting his defamatory posts and apologising to our client.”

“We note further that, besides advising that you were taking instructions, you have not responded to our letter and have failed to put forward any justification for your client’s defamatory posts ... Under the circumstances we have been instructed to proceed with legal action  against your client,” said De Klerk.

Pauw said the remarks made by Rampedi, who has a large social media following, had tainted his reputation.

“I have generally been labelled as a paedophile and a sex offender. Many of Rampedi’s followers have called me a criminal and called for my arrest,” he said.

Pauw said he was he suing Rampedi in his personal capacity. He indicated that he would seek an order that he remove the statements from social media platforms, pay his legal costs and apologise.