Vavi claims he did not defame ex-lover

2014-11-06 11:50

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has filed replying papers in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg relating to a defamation lawsuit for calling his ex-lover a “nopatazana”, and for saying her sexual harassment case was a plot to extort money.

Vavi claims the word is not defamatory and that its English translation – “a woman of low morals” – was incorrect.

The Sowetan reported today that: “The first defendant [Vavi] pleads that he uttered the sentence complained of with the intention of explaining and/or apologising to his constituency for his conduct in having an extramarital affair with a younger woman and also in the belief that the word ‘nopatazana’ is not derogatory,” his defence said in court papers.

“The first defendant pleads that he uttered the sentence complained of in the exercise of his rights ... did not constitute a statement of fact and would have been understood as commentary or opinion by a reasonable listener.”

Jaqueline Phooko, who accused Vavi of raping her, is seeking R4.1 million in damages from him, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its biggest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

Vavi later said he had an affair with Phooko, who had not reported a case of rape to police. Phooko’s claim against Cosatu was after it published a statement penned by Vavi about her on its website. She alleges that Vavi said she tried to extort money from him through her sexual harassment case, and that she was a tool of his political opponents.

Phooko’s claim against the Numsa was after Mbuso Ngubane, a regional secretary in KwaZulu-Natal, claimed Phooko was coerced into making up the rape allegation to damage Vavi’s political career.

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