Ruling on Manto records

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's medical records must be returned to the Cape Town Medi-Clinic and all medical records on journalists' laptops and computers must be deleted, the Johannesburg High Court ordered yesterday.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's medical records must be returned to the Cape Town Medi-Clinic and all medical records on journalists' laptops and computers must be deleted, the Johannesburg High Court ordered yesterday.

Judge Mahomed Jajbhay said personal notes of Sunday Times journalists "are not affected by the court [order".

He also said there was no order against future comments made by the Sunday Times, as that would amount to censorship.

The Sunday Times was further ordered to pay costs in the court case.

The judge did not read out his 40-page judgment, saying it would be available to interested parties afterwards.

Health department spokesman Sibani Mngadi said after the proceedings that the minister was away in Brazzaville, Congo, but had been informed of the order. Tshabalala-Msimang was "delighted", he said.

"We believe the government was vindicated." He said the minister and all people using health facilities could do so knowing that their rights were looked after.

"I hope (Sunday Times editor) Mondli Makhanya is swallowing his words. At first he said he was 200% correct and now after the court has ruled he must even pay the costs of the legal process." He also said he believed there was a vendetta against Tshabalala-Msimang.

"I believe there was a vendetta and certain things were used to settle a political agenda. People are aggrieved about political decisions and are taking this path to attack."

Sunday Times deputy managing editor Susan Smuts, who was in court, said the newspaper would have to study the judgment and that only her editor could comment. - Sapa

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