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High Court Orders the Imprisonment of Mr Freddie Nyathela of the South African Roadies Association (SARA)

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High Court Orders the Imprisonment of Mr Freddie Nyathela of the South African Roadies Association (SARA)

The National Arts Council (NAC) has been involved in a nine-year legal matter against both Mr Nyathela and South African Roadies Association (SARA). The NAC instituted legal action against Mr. Freddie Nyathela for wrongly and unfairly attacking and slandering the NAC, its Chairperson, Members of Council, Management and Staff publicly on various platforms (media and others).

On 20 September 2018, the NAC won a court case against Mr Nyathela which interdicted him and SARA from publishing defamatory statements concerning the NAC as per the court ruling below:

“[Mr. Nyathela & SARA] are interdicted from making, publishing, causing to be published, retweeting, commenting on Facebook or Twitter, or disseminating any defamatory statements concerning the [NAC], including the same or similar statements as those forming the subject matter of this application.” 

Despite the above court ruling Mr Nyathela continued to defy the court order which led to the matter being taken to the High Court of South Africa. The matter was heard at the High Court of South Africa, Johannesburg on 24 April 2023. The High Court Judgement delivered today by Honourable Judge ML Senyatsi declared Mr Nyathela to be in contempt of the first court order which was issued on 20 September 2018.

The High Court has issued a sentence of 30 days imprisonment for Mr Nyathela and also ordered him to pay all the legal costs incurred during the application of the matter to be heard at the High Court of South Africa.

In addition to this High Court ruling the National Arts Council was also vindicated by the final ruling of the Office of the Public Protector of South Africa (PPSA) on matters between the National Arts Council (NAC) and Mr. Freddy Nyathela in March 2023. This ruling amongst others, noted how the NAC has treated its “Expired Projects & Surplus Funds Policy”. The Public Protector ruled that the NAC fully complied with the remedial actions as set out by the PPSA and officially closed the matter.

We are confident that this High Court ruling will serve as a reminder and deterrent to similar perpetrators that there are serious consequences for persons that slander, libel, distribute and publish false, unverified and defamatory information about others and/or organisations.

The National Arts Council has welcomed this High Court ruling and would like to put this Mr Freddie Nyathela and SARA matter behind us, as it has never been our wish to be at loggerheads with the industry we have been called to serve.


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Issued by the National Arts Council of South Africa.

Please click on the link below to download the media statement in pdf:

Media statement – Freddie Nyathela