“The media and any person has an unqualified right to access the shareholder registers of any company in South Africa; such a right is essential for effective journalism. The motive for seeking access to these registers is also totally irrelevant and the company cannot refuse access.”
“These are the two main findings in the judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Moneyweb’s protracted case against the Nova Property Group, Frontier Asset Management and Centro Property Group.”
In the judgment, acting Judge of Appeal Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane wrote that the three companies’ interpretation of section 26(2) ‘would have a negative impact on openness and transparency, and would directly undermine the work of Moneyweb, amaBhungane and other investigative journalists, as it limits the right to freedom of expression… Preventing the press from reporting fully and accurately does not only violate the rights of the journalist, but it also violates the rights of all the people who rely on the media to provide them with ‘information and ideas’.
Moneyweb has been following and reporting on developments at Sharemax for a long time, and its interest continued when the three companies mentioned in the finding above took over the syndication’s operations.