By ZELDA VENTER
A PRETORIA karate instructor who has been involved in the sport for many years at both national and international levels has succeeded in his damages claim against another instructor who, in e-mails to various karate bodies, accused him of being a child molester, rapist and paedophile.
The plaintiff, who is not being identified due to the nature of the allegations levelled against him, claimed R250 000 in damages from karate expert Tshepo Maaga, who operates under the name and style of Doshinkai Karate.
Maaga did not defend the action, and the Pretoria High Court issued judgment by default, ordering Maaga to pay the plaintiff R250 000.
The 52-year-old instructor said in papers before the court that Maaga in November last year and in January this year sent two e-mails addressed to various individuals who are part of the National Karate Organisation of SA. “I am well acquainted with all these individuals as I have myself been involved in karate at national, international and All Style level for more than 40 years.”
He said that from the contents of the e-mails it was clear that he was being implicated as “being convicted in a court for raping his students”.
He said the allegations contained in the e-mails were not true, nor was their publication in the public interest.
“I have been a professional karate instructor for the past 44 years and I have various karate clubs under my control. I instruct, educate and teach students of all ages.
“During 1997/98, and after instructing thousands of students over the years, one disgruntled student laid charges of sexual misconduct against the biological father, myself as her karate instructor and two defence force ambulance men.
“We were all investigated but nobody was convicted.”
Although he wanted to react on these allegations at the time, he decided “in his wisdom it was best to lay the matter to rest”.
He decided to withdraw himself from all levels of coaching while he was being investigated.
The plaintiff said the latest development of the e-mail messages “stirred-up old wounds”. He said it seemed that Maaga had a vendetta against him and was trying to discredit him with the national karate members on a senior level.