What are the legal implications of naming and shaming water wasting culprits?

Publishing the names of people who have allegedly contravened water restrictions may run a risk of having a number of defamation cases lodged against a municipality.

Though in the case of the City of Cape Town the list released contained only the street names where the culprits reside.

Cape Town Executive Mayor Particia De Lille said fines of up to R2 000 have been issued to people not adhering to the water restrictions.

She added, 'once those issued with fines ranging between R500 and R2 000 have paid their admission of guilt fines, we will [by law] be able to name them.'

Thus far no one has been named.

But, if any municipality did name names, what case is there for legal action if residents are guilty of overriding the rules?

Legal consultant Ben Winks explains.

The defining line if you can name and shame anybody in anything, is public interest.

Ben Winks, Independent Legal Consultant

For someone who is actually contravening water restrictions in circumstances where there is drought and water is an increasingly scarce resource, there is a degree of public interest in that.

Ben Winks, Independent Legal Consultant

So as long as its true and it's in the public interest then defamation action by the person who is named and shamed will not succeed.

Ben Winks, Independent Legal Consultant

36 fines were issued last week to consumers, as well as list released on Thursday of the streets in which the top water users live.

Listen to the full interview below...


Recommended

by THE NEWSROOM

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
#702 Unplugged: We’re celebrating 22 years in the business – Wonderboom

#702 Unplugged: We’re celebrating 22 years in the business – Wonderboom

SA rock band Wonderboom talks about their long-awaited album, two decades in the industry and losing a band member

Simphiwe Dana opens up about her career and battling depression

Simphiwe Dana opens up about her career and battling depression

Simphiwe Dana talks candidly about her career and struggle with depression.

Parents urged to take part in SGB elections to fight looting of school coffers

Parents urged to take part in SGB elections to fight looting of school coffers

Corruption Watch urges parents to help combat crime in school by participating the SGB elections.

De Lille raises alarm bells over Cape water crisis, proposes new measures

De Lille raises alarm bells over Cape water crisis, proposes new measures

Mayor Patricia De Lille wants to declare Cape Town a 'proactive disaster area' in order to secure funding for interventions.

How to qualify for water restriction exemptions

How to qualify for water restriction exemptions

Intensified water restrictions are on the cards and the City has strict eligibility criteria in place to help ensure residents comply.

5 things you need to know about how water restrictions affect you

5 things you need to know about how water restrictions affect you

Joburg residents will be fined for failing to abide by level 2 water restrictions implemented this week.

Popular articles
I was not introduced to Ajay Gupta - Grootes

I was not introduced to Ajay Gupta - Grootes

Stephen Grootes says he believes former Eskom CEO Brian Dames when said he was not formally introduced to the Gupta family.

Minister Zwane confirms trips to Dubai and Switzerland

Minister Zwane confirms trips to Dubai and Switzerland

EWN parliamentary correspondent Gaye Davis says Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane received detailed and tough questions.

Vavi: I can't sleep at night for making Zuma the president

Vavi: I can't sleep at night for making Zuma the president

Zwelinzima Vavi says South Africa is paying dearly for choices they've made in being angry with Mbeki and not thinking logically.

Zweli Mkhize 'taken by surprise' with latest cabinet reshuffle

Zweli Mkhize 'taken by surprise' with latest cabinet reshuffle

The ANC treasurer-general confirmed Mantashe’s comments that the President did not consult the ANC leadership on the reshuffle.

Zuma is paying it forward and stacking the deck in his favor - Brown

Zuma is paying it forward and stacking the deck in his favor - Brown

Political analyst Karima Brown says the latest Cabinet Reshuffle is a move to strengthen his hand at the December conference.

"Duduzane Zuma is the Gupta family's greatest asset"

"Duduzane Zuma is the Gupta family's greatest asset"

Sunday Times journo Thanduxolo Jika who broke the front page story about the Gupta family emails vouches for their authenticity.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

‘My worst fear is being 80 years old and poor’ – famed actor Dr. John Kani

‘My worst fear is being 80 years old and poor’ – famed actor Dr. John Kani

"My earliest memory of money is my father saying, ‘Why do you want to do this thing? How are you going to feed the family?'"

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...