NEWS & ANALYSIS

Judge Van der Linde slams Tau's slurs against me - Herman Mashaba

High Court declared the statements defamatory and interdicted former mayor from repeating them

Parks Tau slammed by High Court for defaming Mayor Mashaba 

10 February 2019

On Friday, 8 February 2019, Judge Van der Linde handed down judgment in my High Court application for interdictory relief against former Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau.

This relief was sought pending the finalisation of a defamation lawsuit against Parks Tau for crude and shameful comments he made alleging I was sexist and anti-black. In a scathing judgement, Van der Linde held that the comment, “stretched the boundaries of legitimate political criticism into character assassination”.

The High Court declared that the statements made by Tau were defamatory and interdicted the former mayor from repeating them.

All other issues relating to relief, including a claim of R2 million, are deferred to the pending action I have instituted for damages for defamation.

In another blow to Parks Tau, he was ordered to pay costs for the application, including the costs of two counsel.

I have decided to donate the proceeds of this costs order to an organisation supporting women in need as a result of abuse and other social ills. I will be requesting the Department of Social Development in the City of Johannesburg to assist me identifying a suitable cause.

On 28 August 2016, at the funeral of the late ANC Councillor, Nonhlanhla Mthembu, Parks Tau tastelessly took advantage of the opportunity for cheap politicking and stated:

“The City of Joburg is today led by a man who believes that the women who are senior executives prostituted themselves to be in the jobs they are in. He says that in fact for them for them to earn the positions they are in they had to sleep with the leadership…”

Judge Van der Linde held that, “the degrading aspect of the statement is so egregious that it transcends the boundaries of legitimate and fair political side-swipe.”

Parks Tau was also slammed for making the following defamatory remarks against me: “We have heard views from the Mayor Herman Mashaba who says that in fact if it were up to him he would not want to be black.

Van der Linde stated that, “To assert of a person with a black cultural allegiance that he denies his blackness, is to assert that he betrays the shared suffering of the members of that community. That is to assert of a person that he has turned his back on his own, and is a traitor.”

“If there is still to be any limit at all to freedom of expression, it seems to me that it must lie at the interface with the hurtful history suffered by some.”

The disturbing comments made by the former mayor were widely reported in the media and also led to protest action led by the ANCWL outside my office. It discredited my hard work and reputation. Instead of being able to get on with the mandate given to our mutli-party government by the residents of Johannesburg, I found myself having to constantly refute these baseless allegations.

It is without doubt that the ANC has failed to accept that the residents of Johannesburg no longer trust them to lead our City. Instead of dealing with facts, they have continuously resorted to character assassination in an attempt to discredit this administration.

Parks Tau was given the opportunity to retract these disturbing comments and apologise. However, he refused to do so which resulted in me having to turn to the courts for relief. I would like to thank my legal team headed by Adv. Dali Mpofu for helping ensure justice is upheld.

Should I succeed in my later envisaged defamation lawsuit, I will also donate those proceeds to an organisation supporting women in need in Johannesburg.

Statement issued by Cllr Herman Mashaba, Executive Mayor, City of Johannesburg, 10 February 2019