JOHNSON & JOHNSON ( PTY) LTD VS TEBOHO JAMES PHAKWE

The applicant in this matter was Johnson and Johnson a company based in East London in the Eastern Cape. The respondent was Mr Teboho James Phakwe, a former employee of the company Johnson and Johnson.

Phakwe was also a writer and had written and was looking to publish a book that talked about his employers conduct and mistreatment of workers in the past.  His employers were against the publishing of the book. The Employer then approached the court and sought an interdict preventing the writer from publishing the book and for Phakwe to submit a copy of the book to Johnson and Johnson for viewing, three months before publishing.

The applicants contention was that if published the book would contain statements that are defamatory since among other things the respondent alleged in the book that “that the applicant supported apartheid both financially and morally, and that it was a blood money organisation” which the applicant denied was true.

The respondent as an initial point stated in his responding papers that the applicant case is baseless in law. He went on to allege that the applicant had no propriety interest in the manuscript he had written. The respondent sought the court to dismiss the application. FXI was acting on behalf of the respondent. The FXI sought to oppose what it saw as a form of pre-publication censorship, by the applicant in this regard.

However the applicant suddenly ceased contact both with Mr Phakwe and the FXI. In light of these development we advised Mr Phakwe to continue to publish his book if he so wished, in a manner as advised by ourselves regarding the parameters of what is responsible and within his rights to write and publish.

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