Former SAA pilot ‘vindicated’ after winning lawsuit against Satawu

John Harty was accused of diverting a Hong Kong/Johannesburg flight to Durban to drop off family members who were on board with him.

FILE: A South African airways flight takes off as another one is parked in a bay on the tarmac Johannesburg O.R Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Former South African Airways (SAA) pilot John Harty says he feels vindicated after winning R450,000 in damages for defamation against the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and two of its officials.

Harty, who is now retired, was accused of diverting a Hong Kong/Johannesburg flight to Durban to drop off family members who were on board with him, being part of a sabotage plot last year to bring down an SAA aircraft flown by a black pilot and that he endangered passengers by extending the cabin crew’s period of duty.

He maintains that these allegations are completely untrue and decided to take the matter to court when Satawu published these claims on social media and refused to remove the statements.

Harty says he sued for defamation.

“We didn’t oppose the motion so the default judgment was granted in my favour on 15 December against Satawu and the two officials concerned. I feel vindicated; I think it sends a message once again that people need to be careful how and what they view on social media.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)