Newsflash

Vodacom coughs up over R1-million for violation of O’Sullivan’s privacy

By Marianne Thamm 30 July 2018

Vodacom has coughed up R1.2-million in an out-of-court settlement for handing over forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan personal information to jailed former underworld boss Radovan Krejcir's legal team in 2014. O'Sullivan had been pursuing Krejcir for years. The settlement is a victory for the protection of personal information from corporate recklessness.

Paul O’Sullivan lodged an application in the Johannesburg High Court in 2014 after Vodacom had handed over, without his permission, personal information to the legal team representing convicted underworld boss Radovan Krejcir.

While Vodacom’s legal representative, Pieter Conradie, of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, would not confirm the payment of R1,250 000.00 in settlement citing “client confidentiality”, Daily Maverick can confirm the amount was paid over last week.

In May 2014, Vodacom electronically furnished O’Sullivan’s cell phone records to David H Botha, Du Plessis and Kruger Inc of BDK Attorneys who represented Radovan Krejcir at the time. The cellphone giant did this without obtaining permission from O’Sullivan.

In October 2014 O’Sullivan secured a successful order in the Gauteng Local Division for the return of all his call records. The court also ordered Krejcir to pay all costs including of postponements and the striking out application “which costs would include the costs occasioned by the employment of senior and junior counsel”.

O’Sullivan, despite an application to sequestrate the estate of Krejcir, had been unable to recover the costs which he said he would not have incurred had Vodacom not illegally handed over his details.

The personal cost, said O’Sullivan, had amounted to R2,145,852.92 including fees for the application as well as R151,649.22 for an application to sequestrate Krejcir’s estate.

The amount Vodacom paid O’Sullivan last seek is in “full settlement” of his claim, including interest and costs against Vodacom.

O’Sullivan told Daily Maverick on Monday “the matter has become settled, but my attorney tells me I am not permitted to discuss the matter further”.

Vodacom are not above the law. If they think they can hand my cellular records over to the Mafia and get away with it, they have a big shock coming to them,” O’Sullivan told Daily Maverick in May 2014.

He added that the right to privacy is enshrined in the Constitution “and I am not going to allow Vodacom to ignore my rights. I’m not just doing this to get back the R2-million I wasted on preventing Krejcir from having access to my cellular records, I am doing this for all South Africans, who regularly have their privacy breached by Vodacom”. DM

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Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.

Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.

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