SLAPP Suits in South Africa
The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) is representing an anti-corruption activist in a SLAPP suit. CALS have argued that the case is an example of a SLAPP suit, or “the kind of meritless lawsuit used around the world by the powerful in an attempt to intimidate and silence their critics and prevent them from defending their human rights and those of their communities.”
This case involved a prodigious damages claim based on alleged defamation by activists who were opposing a development. The company was unsuccessful in its claim against the activists.
This article explores how the emergence of SLAPP suits pose a threat to public interest litigation, with a keen focus on environmental public interest litigation and participation in environmental decision-making. Considering how public interest litigation is so important in ensuring that the rights in the Constitution are protected and fulfilled, the article considers how courts should use existing procedural and substantive legal tools to protect litigants faced with SLAPP suits.