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Innscor sues Rutendo Matinyarare for claiming they use GMOs

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Innscor Africa has obtained a takedown order against Zanu PF social media activist Benson Rutendo Matinyarare, who posted videos online accusing the company of “destroying the taste of Zimbabwean food” while also labelling the company’s founder Zinona ‘Zed’ Koudounaris a “Rhodie”.

The Johannesburg High Court has ruled Matinyarare’s claims were “defamatory,” leaving him facing a damages claim from Innscor and Koudounaris as well as a huge legal bill.

An interim order obtained by Innscor on January 9 directed Matinyarare, who has appeared on South African television supporting the Zanu PF government, to delete two defamatory tweets, a post on his website and a video posted on his Facebook page.

He has since removed the content online.

Read: Chicken Inn defeats Chicken Slice in court over trademark

Matinyarare, who lives in South Africa, recorded videos and wrote on his website criticising what he said was an Innscor monopoly, while taking a swipe at Koudounaris whom he labelled a Rhodie – used to refer to descendants of British colonialists with nostalgia for colonial times. Koudounaris was born in Zimbabwe after his parents emigrated from Greece and denies he fits the definition of Rhodie.

Justice Namhla Thina Siwendu of the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa, sitting in Johannesburg, also said Matinyarare was “interdicted and restrained from publishing any of the defamatory statements contained in the articles and video” which she ordered taken down.

Two of the videos were titled ‘Innscor has destroyed the taste of Zim food’ and ‘The Innscor problem explained.’ He also wrote an article posted on his website under the headline ‘Innscor food and feed monopoly have destroyed Zim beef, pork and chicken.’

The judge said Innscor and Koudounaris can, within 30 days, bring a civil damages claim if they so intend which would extend the interim order until the final determination of the civil damages claim. If they fail to do so, the order falls away.

Koudounaris founded Innscor, now one of Zimbabwe’s biggest companies, in 1997 with his friend Michael Fowler.

Innscor’s interests now include other stock exchange-listed companies like Padenga, Axia Holdings and Simbisa Brands. Innscor itself has grown to become one of the largest conglomerates in Zimbabwe, owning Colcom, National Foods, Capri, Profeeds, Pro Brands, NatPak and Irvines.

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