ANC Chief Whip lodges lawsuit against Motsoeneng
17 November 2016
The legal counsel of the Chief Whip of the African National Congress in Parliament, Cde Jackson Mthembu, yesterday initiated formal court proceedings against SABC’s Group Executive of Corporate Affairs, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, for the malicious and defamatory allegations he publicly made against him few weeks ago. During the live broadcast of the New Age business briefing on 27 October, Mr Motsoeneng made outrageous claims and veiled threats against the Chief Whip, warning him to desist from ‘making a lot of noise’ regarding the SABC and alleging his interest was driven by ulterior motives. Mr Motsoeneng further alleged that the Chief Whip had attempted to “capture” him.
The Chief Whip’s legal representatives, Nicqui Galaktiou Inc, on 2 November sent a letter to Mr Motsoeneng demanding an immediate public apology and retraction for his defamatory claims. The letter further demanded that Mr Motsoeneng disclose all the details of the alleged meeting where such attempted “capture” allegedly took placed. Having failed to do so within the stipulated period, legal proceedings have now been lodged with the Court and Mr Motsoeneng will be served with the papers in the next few days.
There is no doubt that Mr Motsoeneng’s claims are unfounded, unsubstantiated and blatantly false. 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.
While the statements/accusations usually blurted out by Mr Motsoeneng would ordinarily be dismissed, the nature of his allegations is such that, if left unchallenged, might stand as facts in the minds of some people, thus permanently impairing the Chief Whip’s good name. To protect his name and the integrity of the ANC in Parliament in relation to its position on the SABC, the Chief Whip is seeking relief through the Court.
In his Court papers, the Chief Whip is asking the Court to order Mr Motsoeneng to:
- Pay a sum of R1 000 000;
- Issue unconditional public apology for the injury caused to the Chief Whip as a result of the defamatory statement, both in print and over a public broadcast, within seven days of the date of judgment; and
- Pay the legal costs
The Chief Whip remains unshaken and unintimidated by Mr Motsoeneng’s spurious allegations and attempted blackmail, and is hopeful that a favourable judgment of the Court would dissuade Mr Motsoeneng from making similar thoughtless utterances in future.
Issued by Moloto Mothapo on behalf of the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, 17 November 2016