Freda Adams walked out of the Cape High Court R2 000 up on former Western Cape premier Peter Marais on Wednesday, despite having failed to prove her sexual harassment case against him.

Adams, a former provincial Social Services minister, sued Marais for defamation and sexual harassment and former premier Gerald Morkel for defamation. Marais lodged a defamation counter-claim.

On Wednesday Justice Anton Veldhuizen ordered Marais to pay Adams a total of R42 000, just under two percent of her original claim.

He found Marais had defamed Adams by claiming on a Voice of the Cape radio show that she had been involved in a sexual relationship with her driver, and awarded her R42 000.

But the judge found that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Marais had sexually harassed her. Adams will, however, be able to pursue her sexual harassment case against Marais, should she be able to submit further evidence against him.

Judge Veldhuizen said Adams's corruption and administration allegations against Marais were defamatory, and ordered Adams to pay Marais R40 000.

The judge ordered Marais to pay Adams R2 000 for telling her: "As ek soos jy gelyk het, steek ek my weg." (If I looked like you, I would hide myself away.)

Morkel, who was not in court, was ordered to pay Adams R35 000 for defamatory comments he made at a press conference intended to address her allegations of corruption and

mismanagement of Western Cape poverty relief funds. Then premier Morkel allegedly said she was pursuing a "sick vendetta" against Marais and "needed treatment".

The judge did not make an order regarding the substantial legal costs in the 27-day trial and asked that Adams, Marais and Morkel's lawyers make written submissions about how the costs should be divided. Marais claimed his legal fees alone had amounted to R720 000.

Adams, who appeared tired, showed little emotion as the judgment was read out and left the court soon after it was adjourned She declined to comment. Marais said he was "disappointed" that he had only been awarded R40 000 and said he might sue Adams for malicious prosecution.

Who gets what

  • Freda Adams sued Peter Marais for R2.3 million for sexual harassment and defamation. She was awarded R42 000.

  • She sued Gerald Morkel for R500 000 for defamation. She was awarded R35 000.

  • Peter Marais counter-sued Adams for R2.5m for defamation. He was awarded R40 000 by the court.

  • This means Adams is up on Morkel and Marais to the tune of R37 000.