Former Miss SA and television personality Basetsana Kumalo breathed a sigh of relief and shed a tear after author Jackie Phamotse was found guilty of four crimen, injury, criminal defamation and contempt of court, putting an end to a five-year legal battle that unfolded at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court.
On Tuesday, Magistrate S Naidoo ruled that under cross-examination, Phamotse’s version surrounding the circumstances that saw her publish the contentious June 2018 tweet was unlikely to be true and that she was aware that it was harmful to Basetsana’s and her husband, Romeo’s, reputation.
Speaking outside court, following Naidoo’s finding, Basetsana Kumalo said it had been a difficult time for her family and she was happy about the outcome.
“It is a victory for every single person who is being cyberbullied.
“Many people have taken their lives after being cyberbullied and today is for all of us, for my children who have had to live in shame for five years,” Kumalo added.
Naidoo said that Phamotse was an elusive witness who, at times, hesitated to answer simple questions
She did not testify in a clear nor in a forthright manner. Under cross-examination, she stated that the tweet in question was put out as research for her book,The Hockey Club, and that the tweet did appear in that book.
However, when pressed to show where in the book the tweet appeared, she capitulated and said one would need to read the book,” stated Naidoo.
She said that Phamotse also contended that the State was selective in gathering the tweets and that the exhibits did not comprise all the reply tweets relating to the contentious tweet.
Five years ago, Phamotse shocked social media users when she tweeted:
“Just overheard a painful conversation, a female TV mogul pleading with one of my girls to not share videos of her drunk and her husband [sic] rimming a celebrity boy!!!!!!!!! What the hell!!!! Kanti, what kind of marriages do we have now!!! “
I have asked to see this video. Naidoo, however, said that Phamotse could not provide proof of the omitted reply tweets by the State.
It was never disputed that Ms Phamotse had only made memes when Mrs Kumalo’s name was mentioned, however, when Ms Phamotse was challenged under cross-examination on this specific issue, she sort to distance herself by saying, ‘I comment on different things, sir, I cannot remember all of them’.
Naidoo cited that Phomotse’s comments were vague and did not provide any detail.
The magistrate also found that Phamotse failed to clarify to her followers that she was not referring to the Kumalos in the tweet.
“In answering questions under cross-examination, Ms Phamotse gave the impression that she was trying to latch on to everything that could serve as a possible answer.
Her evidence is not compatible with the circumstances of the case as reflected in the facts, which are common course,” she said.
Phamotse will head back to court on October 24 for sentencing.
The judgment against the vile, mendacious, pathological liar JACKIE PHAMOTSE has been handed down. She is found guilty as charged on counts 1, 2, 3,4
It’s taken the Kumalo’s 5 years to get to this verdict.
Sentencing has been postponed to 24 Oct. pic.twitter.com/qmRWXnckbW
— @lupingcayisa (@lupingcayisa) September 19, 2023