Mavundla sues his ex-mayor

2012-11-22 00:00

CURRENT ANC Umvoti mayor Philani Mavundla has asked the high court to order his political rival and ex-mayor, Petros Ngubane, to pay him R250 000 for alleged slander.

He alleges that Ngubane defamed him in 2009 by publishing statements to the effect that he (Mavundla) had “engineered” attacks on IFP members in the Umvoti area, and also accused him of “buying” the votes of amakhosi in the House of Traditional Leaders during a leadership election in May 2009.

The court papers allege the comments portrayed Mavundla as a “ruthless person who engages in, or engineers actual violence and murder to advance the interests of ANC members at the expense of the IFP”, and an “unethical and corrupt” person who would resort to corrupt practices to wrest political control from the IFP.

Judgment in the matter was reserved by acting high court Judge Pie­t Bezuidenhout, who heard oral evidence given by Mavundla yesterday.

There was no opposition by Ngubane to yesterday’s application, although he has previously denied making the comments.

In his testimony, Mavundla said Ngubane has not apologised for or retracted his alleged untrue statements which were published in the press and broadcast on radio.

Mavundla said Ngubane’s speech at the funeral of slain IFP councillor Ntuthuko Ngcobo, who was shot dead during a volatile period in Umvoti, was recorded and broadcast on radio the same evening.

He said he’d listened to the broadcast, and alleged that one of the things Ngubane stated was that he (Mavundla) was behind efforts to “eliminate” members of the IFP.

“To me it was an inflammatory statement which was going to cause problems,” he testified.

Mavundla also referred to articles published in the press containing similar comments which were attributed to Ngubane. He confirmed that he had obtained a high court interdict to stop Ngubane from continuing to make these allegations.

He said the comments had put him and his family in danger and added that he was affected both in his business dealings and politically, as it was dangerous for him to enter certain areas.

Mavundla’s advocate Chris Hattingh said the slander must be seen in a very serious light as it put Mavundla in harm’s way. He submitted the court would be justified in awarding Mavundla damages of R250 000.

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