ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu has filed a defamation suit against SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng, demanding R1m for making “malicious and defamatory” remarks about him.
BusinessLive reported that Mthembu’s lawyers initiated court proceedings against Motsoeneng on Wednesday.
The website, quoting Mthembu’s office, said the chief whip is also seeking an unconditional public apology and wants Motsoeneng to pay his legal fees.
The legal action follows claims by Motsoeneng, made at a New Age breakfast and aired on the SABC, that Mthembu had, through a third person, tried to “capture” him. The New Age is owned by the Gupta family.
According to a report at the time, Mthembu denied ever meeting Motsoeneng in an attempt to “capture” him.
“The chief whip states for the record that he has never at any point held any meeting with Mr Motsoeneng, certainly not at any location, including the so-called captured hotel,” Mthembu said in a statement.
Watch Motsoeneng at the New Age breakfast event:
Mthembu described Motsoeneng’s comments as “defamatory, spurious and laughable”.
Motsoeneng, SABC CEO James Aguma, Land First Black First’s Andile Mngxitama and Progressive Professionals Forum and Decolonisation Forum leader Jimmy Manyi were part of the breakfast discussion.
“The personal attacks, regrettably, are a further testimony to the crisis at the SABC and point to the lengths Mr Motsoeneng would go to flagrantly abuse the public broadcaster’s platforms to maliciously pursue those he regards as detractors,” Mthembu said at the time.
“There is no doubt that Mr Motsoeneng’s claims are unfounded, unsubstantiated and blatantly false,” Mthembu’s office said, according to BusinessLive.
“The made-up accusations, aired publicly on live television, were intended to impugn the character of the chief whip.
“Imputing improper motives on the chief whip was clearly designed to threaten and blackmail him and the ANC in parliament into silence on a matter of principle with the hope that the inquiry into the SABC, which the ANC caucus has outspokenly pursued, would be abandoned.” — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media