Media 24, publishers of City Press newspaper, was yesterday ordered to pay prominent ANC politician and medical doctor Zweli Mkhize R150000 in damages for defaming him in a report in March last year.
The order was made by Judge Jan Hugo in the Pietermaritzburg high court.
City Press must also pay the legal costs.
Mkhize is MEC for finance and economic development in KwaZulu-Natal.
The defamation case arises from a report about the trial stemming from the murder of Sifiso Nkabinde of Richmond. He was an ANC leader who was expelled by the party and became a leader of the UDM.
The City Press report alleged that an accomplice to the murder had said that Mkhize had promised him thousands of rands in exchange for Nkabinde's assassination.
The report created the mistaken impression that the witness had testified in court that Mkhize had made such a promise to him in person. In fact this was not said by the witness.
The witness had testified that his understanding about Mkhize's alleged involvement in Nkabinde's murder was hearsay.
At the time Mkhize denied any involvement in the Nkabinde murder.
The Witness published a similar report gleaned from City Press. When Mkhize's attorney challenged the Witness it published an apology and no further action was taken against it.
Hugo said City Press' reply to Mkhize's complaint showed recklessness. - Sapa