Former Miss South Africa and TV producer Basetsana Kumalo and her husband Romeo Kumalo have issued a statement celebrating their victory following the outcome of their defamation case against author Jackie Phamotse.
In a statement shared on Kumalo’s Instagram page, the couple said they endured significant challenges and suffered a devastating impact during the five-year-long legal battle with Phamotse.
This ordeal began with Phamotse's controversial 2018 tweet, which made serious allegations about a well-known media mogul and a younger rapper.
While Phamotse did not mention any names in the tweet, it led to the Kumalo family being associated with these allegations in the public eye.
“Just overheard a painful conversation, a Female TV mogul...Pleading with one of my girls to not share videos of her drunk and her husband rim**ng a celebrity boy!!!!!!!!! What the hell!!!! Kanti what kind of marriages do we have now!!! I have asked to see this video (sic),” tweeted Phamotse at the time.
In their statement, the Kumalos emphasised the emotional toll the case took on their family and how the case negatively impacted their children’s psychological well-being.
“We are relieved that the saga has now been dispensed with and that our families can start a moment of reflection, healing and recovery. This ordeal has been a severe test on the bonds of family and friends.
“Our children have been devastatingly impacted by these damning allegations,” read the statement.
“We watched with pain their psychological beings, social lives and self-esteem taking unimaginable knocks. As businesspeople, our ability to pursue sustainable livelihoods were hamstrung, with some business prospects being brought to a halt.
“We are grateful for the immense support received from family, friends, and the greater South African community at large.
“We wish to appeal to South Africans to exercise extreme caution when using social media platforms and to at least desist from bullying, making false claims and defamatory remarks about other fellow citizens.”
In their statement, the Kumalos reminded South Africans that social media can be a powerful force for good, but it also requires responsible and ethical use to prevent harm and misuse.
“Social media remains a powerful avenue through which we can empower and educate each other. It is therefore critical that it is not used as an outlet to defame, disparage, and besmirch.”
The Kumalos expressed their gratitude towards the South African justice system for its resilience and the diligence with which their case was handled. They also acknowledged the South African justice system as one of the most resilient in the world.
“We appreciate the diligence with which the matter was dealt with and hope that true to form, the courts will continue to adjudicate on these matters with a fastidious, steady, and stern hand,” they added.
The matter has been on the roll for almost five years, and sentencing is expected to be handed down on 24 October 2023.
Read the full statement below.
Please embed: https://www.instagram.com/p/CxdexcRoU2q/
There’s been an outpouring of support from fans and well-wishers for Romeo and Basetsana Kumalo, following outcome of the case on Tuesday.
Lucia Camara commented: “Thank you for becoming an example to others who face the same situation. Far too many are silenced into shame to keep the peace.
“Justice was served not only by the courts but by yourselves as the elders of your family, the parents to your children and leaders in your community.
“May those who read this follow in your footsteps and never allow others to bully and speak without facts. We are all allowed an opinion but not one that hurts others.
Delores Groepies wrote: “his outcome is long overdue. I'm happy that your family can start the healing process and wish your family everything that you deserve cause you are good ppl (people). Once again, congratulations on a very good outcome 🙌”
Another Instagram user, Dimakatso_SM, added: “South Africa also welcomes this huge and game changer judgment. Social bullying and malicious damage to people's lives must stop 👏”