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'Back to negotiation table' - lawyer of minister named in 'The Lost Boys of Bird Island'

'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' has been withdrawn from bookshelves by its publishers.
'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' has been withdrawn from bookshelves by its publishers.
Image: Supplied

Parties must return to the negotiation table where the finer details of a comprehensive settlement, covering all aspects of clients' grievances, costs and settlement amounts, can be addressed, the legal representative of apartheid-era minister Barend du Plessis said on Wednesday.

This after publisher Media24 apologised and offered a settlement of R3m to Du Plessis after he was identified as allegedly being part of a paedophile ring.

In the book The Lost Boys of Bird Island, three apartheid ministers were named. Two of them, Magnus Malan and John Wiley, have died, but the former finance minister is still alive.

The publishers of Lost Boys conceded that Du Plessis could have been erroneously linked to the book, which has been withdrawn  physically and digitally.

Lawyers for the three ministers said the book was nothing but a fabrication and a web of lies woven by its co-authors, Mark Minnie and Chris Steyn. Minnie killed himself at a friend’s farm in Port Elizabeth in 2018.

Du Plessis' lawyer, Johan Victor, said on Wednesday the apology was issued without consulting the legal team and the affected families – the Du Plessis, Malan and Wiley families.

Victor said the legal representatives said that settlements of this nature should not be handled in the media but authorised by office-bearers, and the results of the negotiations after such a discussion should be sent out in a joint statement to the media.

He said despite “a million” apologies, the content of the book would remain on the internet.

“We do not in any way notice that there is any compliance with previous requests that the publisher will ensure that, through a “right to be forgotten” process, all references to the book and our clients (linked to it) entirely be removed from the internet.”

Victor did, however, say that the apology and “offer” of R3m was a step in the right direction to finally put the matter to rest.

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