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Headmaster sues parent over ‘libel’

A primary school headmaster from Pretoria is suing a parent for an alleged libellous e-mail, it was reported on Thursday.

Johan Joubert, head of the Garsfontein Primary School, wants R450 000 from John Hempel, a parent and former member of the school's governing body, Beeld newspaper reported.

According to Joubert's court papers, Hempel sent him a libellous e-mail, copied to other members of the governing body, in which he voiced his dissatisfaction about how Joubert allegedly victimised his daughter. In the e-mail he wrote: “You're being a bully… stop carrying on like a 'stoepkakkertjie'.”

This is an Afrikaans slang word, referring to a spoilt, overweight old dog that barks incessantly while refusing to move from the veranda, not even to take care of its bodily functions.

Joubert's lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, said in court papers that Hempel was attempting to damage his client's reputation and dignity, by “implying that he was incompetent, irritating and an annoyance”.

Hempel, who is opposing the claim, says he didn't call Joubert a “stoepkakkertjie”, but asked him to stop behaving like one. – Sapa

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