According to a Sunday Times report, Jackie Phamotse, an author, motivational speaker, business owner and model, has been told to appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on 10 July to face a charge of crimen injuria for comments she made last year about power couple Romeo and Basetsana Kumalo.

According to the couple’s lawyer Ian Levitt, although she did not name the couple, she implied Romeo had appeared in a sex video.

The couple obtained an interdict preventing Phamotse from commenting on their personal lives, and Magistrate Helen Banks ruled that Phamotse would be arrested if she violated the order.

Undeterred, Phamotse released a book, I Tweet What I Like … So Sue Me, in November last year in which she wrote about the incident.

She said at the time: ‘I am tired of people using their power to manipulate the system. My mission is simple: I want everyone to get a voice, stand up and take back your power.

Last year, notes the report, businessperson Uyanda Mbuli won a case she brought again socialite Joyce Molamu over accusations Molamu made on Facebook. Molamu was found guilty of crimen injuria for accusing Mbuli of trying to steal her boyfriend, Kind Maseko.

Social media lawyer Verlie Oosthuizen said there had been an increase in people, particularly celebrities, taking legal action, because they relied on social media to market themselves and their ‘brand’.

‘Being bullied by trolls need not be tolerated despite their decision to live in the limelight. They do have a right to dignity and reputation and are protecting themselves in an age where it is far easier to be victimised by trolls than in the past.’

Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)