SLAPP Suit #1: MRC and Caruso v John Clarke
In July 2016, MRC, and its CEO, Mark Caruso, issued summons against social worker and community activist, John Clarke. In this matter, MRC and Caruso are together seeking damages of R10 million from Clarke.
An example of a claim against Clarke appears from the summons, in which it is alleged that MRC, as a company has been damaged in its reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of R500 000. In this regard, the claim related to an article published in the Daily Maverick on 24 March 2016, titled, “Goodbye Bazooka: Wild Coast Anti-Mining Activist Killed”. The paragraph which is alleged to be defamatory of MRC is as follows:
“‘The key issue is whether human rights trump mining rights,’ said John Clarke, a social worker and Daily Maverick contributor, who has been working closely with the community. ‘The area, which was the site of the Pondoland revolt, is fiercely resistant to being told from the outside what to do’, said Clarke, ‘and after MRC continues to try for a mining license the killing of Radebe he said it shows it’s trying to increase the pressure on those in its way’.”
In response to the allegation, Clarke states in court papers, that he denies that the plaintiff (MRC) has suffered damages as alleged or at all. The pleadings in this matter may be accessed below.