Chief pardons reporter over sonorous sex story

Sakhile Mokoena and Masoka Dube

Sakhile Mokoena and Masoka Dube

Sowetan reporter Alfred Moselakgomo will not have to appear before a tribal court for reporting about a couple's noisy sex acts.

Kgosi Ben Letsoalo, of Lefiso village in Marapyane, Mpumalanga, has withdrawn his order for the reporter to appear in his court because of "bad publicity".

Last week Moselakgomo received a letter from the chief ordering him to appear before the village kgotla, a tribal court.

In the letter, Letsoalo accused the reporter of not asking for permission to publish the report and showering bad publicity on his village. He also wanted to tell Moselakgomo to inform the royal family about stories concerning anything to do with the chief in a kgotla. The reporter was scheduled to appear on Sunday, but the case was withdrawn.

If he appeared and was found guilty, he would have had to pay a fine of a cow or a goat or he would have been sjambokked.

The article last Wednesday was about a couple who were shamed in a village tribal court for making too much noise while having sex. Their noisy sex romps offended neighbours who reported Emily Dolo, 21, and her boyfriend Barnet Motloung, 31.

Letsoalo told Sowetan's editor- in-chief Thabo Leshilo at the weekend that he would not call Moselakgomo to testify, but would talk to him as a fellow villager.

Leshilo said yesterday: "I'm glad that this potentially explosive issue involving modernity and tradition has been resolved with such speed."

Letsoalo said that he supported press freedom and would not want Moselakgomo to account or answer to him for his duties. The chief said he had no intention of charging the reporter.

"The issue is not as big as Sowetan made it out to be. We need to work with Moselakgomo, but there are some reports that should not be published, like that about Dolo and Motloung," said the chief.

Moselakgomo said he would meet the chief to discuss certain issues.