Robert Gumede is said to be suing Sunday Independent. Photo: Paballo Thekiso

Independent Newspapers declined to comment at the weekend on a report that an ANC businessman planned to sue the Sunday Independent for defamation of R1 billion.

“We are not making any comments,” group executive editor Karima Brown said.

Attorneys for information technology mogul Robert Gumede had already served the newspaper with a notice of intention to sue in the biggest defamation claim in South African history, the Saturday Star reported. The notice said an article published on Gumede caused him “serious commercial and reputational damage”.

The Sunday Independent published a report on March 2 headlined “ANC funder probed”. The report claimed that Gumede’s JSE-listed information technology company, Gijima, was the subject of an investigation authorised by President Jacob Zuma.

The report alleged that Zuma had signed a proclamation for the Special Investigating Unit to probe a tender awarded by the Department of Rural Development to Gumede’s company.

The notice claims the report is defamatory and the headline sensational. – Sapa