The African National Congress’ (ANC) Jackson Mthembu is suing Hlaudi Motsoeneng for R1 million for defamation after the SABC boss claimed the ruling party’s Chief Whip tried to “capture him”.
Yesterday the office of the ANC’s’ Whip in Parliament said Mthembu’s lawyers approached the court on Wednesday.
Mthembu says the lawsuit follows a live TV interview at a New Age business briefing on October 27, where the SABC’s Group Executive of Corporate Affairs warned him to stop “making a lot of noise” regarding the public broadcaster.
In the interview, Motsoeneng can be heard saying to a cheering crowd: “And Jackson Mthembu should be the last person to talk about the SABC.
“[He] should know I met him at certain hotel where maybe this capture [happened] but no one can capture me, so he should not talk too much.”
Earlier this month, Mthembu sent a lawyer’s letter to Motsoeneng demanding a public apology.
“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,” read the whip’s statement yesterday.
“There is no doubt that Mr Motsoeneng’s claims are unfounded, unsubstantiated and blatantly false.”
The statement said it’s clear the accusations were intended to “impugn the character of the Chief Whip”, and designed to “blackmail him into silence with the hope that the inquiry into the SABC, which the ANC caucus has outspokenly pursued, would be abandoned.”
Motsoeneng’s lawyer Zola Majavu has confirmed he’s going to defend the defamation action brought by Mthembu after Motsoeneng claimed on live television that he had met Mthembu in a Sandton hotel to discuss a business deal.