Case: Spotlight Publications NPC v Sadmon Projects and Consulting CC
Complaints mechanism: Appeals Panel of the Press Council of South Africa
Appeals Panel: Judge BM Ngoepe (Chair), R Mnisi (Public Representative), and T Makhadi (Media Representative)
Date of finding: 13 March 2020
Complaint overview: This matter concerned an appeal by Spotlight Publications NPC (Spotlight) against a finding of the Press Ombud that its article titled “The Sadmon Files 1: Government pushed R352m to controversial communications company” violated the Complaints Procedure of the Press Code. Spotlight’s application for leave to appeal included both procedural and substantive grounds of appeal. In its finding, the Appeals Panel dismissed the complaint submitted by Sadmon Projects and Consulting CC (Sadmon) based on the procedural ground that the initial complaint was noted “well out of time” and condonation for the late filing of the complaint constituted a “material irregularity”. As a result, the appeal was upheld and the complaint lodged by Sadmon was dismissed. Spotlight was represented by Power Singh Inc.