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...

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
Artist Esther Mahlangu: A dynamic South African ambassador in NY

Artist Esther Mahlangu: A dynamic South African ambassador in NY

Photographer Victor Dlamini and 702 anchor, Azania Mosaka celebrate the incredible life of artist, Esther Mahlangu.

Listeners give vent to disappointment in Bok defeat, ask what went wrong?

Listeners give vent to disappointment in Bok defeat, ask what went wrong?

The Springboks suffered another defeat on Saturday much to the dismay of all South African supporters.

Maleh steals the show on #702Unplugged

Maleh steals the show on #702Unplugged

The songstresses professional singing career took off during her final high school year when she joined Afro pop group Kaya.

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
Opinion:  Bishop Lekganyane is right

Opinion: Bishop Lekganyane is right

Stephen Grootes weighs in on comments made by the Zion Christian Church Bishop at the weekend.

SAB urges public to stop abusing free water at Newlands Spring

SAB urges public to stop abusing free water at Newlands Spring

There have been several reports of abuse of the facility, with a number of people tapping far more water than is allowed.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

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

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

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...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?