Media reports of unlawful home ‘invasion’ by private investigators amount to defamation – Eswatini supreme court

The Supreme Court of Eswatini has delivered judgment in a most extraordinary defamation case. It concerns the raid on a private home by operatives of a firm of private investigators. They broke into the house where they found a couple asleep, naked, in bed. Then they took distasteful photographs and video as the two people tried desperately to cover themselves. The firm said that they had been hired by the then minister of justice, who was, at the time, involved in a dispute with the man of the couple.

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It is difficult to decide what is the most shocking element of this story. Each new paragraph seems to show another, more alarming, piece of the picture.

Attorney loses battle with Chief Justice over dirty hands

Strange to say, there are two current cases in the region citing a Chief Justice as respondent in a civil matter. Apart from the grave issue involving the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe (see above), there is another case in which the respondent is a Chief Justice. This time it is the judicial head of Eswatini, Bheki Maphalala, who was sued as a respondent, along with the government of Eswatini and the attorney general.

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Stripped of niceties, the point of this application was to win judicial support for attorney Muzi Simelane’s plea: the Chief Justice had barred him from appearing before any court in Eswatini and he was hoping that the high court would find the notice by the CJ to be ‘unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid’.

Apex courts in two African countries try to avoid ‘absurd results’ in labour matters

Time limits on filing appeals and reviews can bring litigation to an abrupt end when they are not observed. But what is a court to do if it is not clear when the time limits actually start. The apex courts of two African jurisdictions have found themselves dealing with exactly this question – when do the days of a time limit begin to run? And the question was made even more complicated because the high courts in both countries had produced two contradictory positions from which the apex courts had to choose.

Read Eswatini Supreme Court judgment

Read Tanzania Court of Appeal judgment


By a strange coincidence, the highest courts of Tanzania and Eswatini have found themselves delivering judgment on a virtually identical problem within three days of each other.


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