Phosa vindicated after defamation charge dismissed

2017-05-05 15:07
Mathews Phosa. Picture: Theana Breugem

Mathews Phosa. Picture: Theana Breugem

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Cape Town - African National Congress presidential hopeful and former premier of Mpumalanga, Mathews Phosa, reacted with joy and vindication after the North Gauteng High Court dismissed Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza's defamation case against him.

"Mabuza's attempt to smear me has failed, thank God," said Phosa telephonically on Friday shortly after Judge Bill Prinsloo delivered the verdict.

Mabuza's allegation stemmed from a so-called spy report, in which it is alleged that he operated as a spy for the apartheid regime.

Phosa came into possession of the report when his cook handed it to him, and Phosa handed it to Jessie Duarte, deputy general secretary of the ANC.

A former employee of Phosa, Jan Venter, alleged that he overheard a conversation in which Phosa concocted the spy allegations.  

'Poor witness'

Venter was previously dismissed by Phosa after he provided pictures of the Phosa residence to the media.

Prinsloo rejected Venter as an "extremely poor witness".

"During intensive cross-examination of Venter, from which he emerged in a very poor state, it also appeared that Venter is a self-confessed liar," reads Prinsloo's judgment.

Prinsloo found that Venter couldn't have been in a position to say that Phosa authored the spy report, and that it might have been Mabuza himself.

Prinsloo found Phosa to be an "impressive and credible witness".

"It is useful to add that there was no suggestion at any stage of a motive which has existed for the defendant [Phosa] to create the Spy Report," reads Prinsloo's judgement.

"Justice has prevailed. The court ruling this morning has proven my innocence. I was telling the truth and Mabuza was lying all along," read a statement from Phosa. "Truth is mighty and always prevails!!"

Last week Phosa, former treasurer-general of the ANC, accepted a nomination for the ANC's presidency from ANC ward 52 in Cape Town.

Asked if Friday's ruling would ease his road to the ANC presidency, Phosa replied: "My name has been cleared, let's leave the presidency out of this."

Mabuza couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Read more on:    anc  |  matthews phosa  |  david mabuza  |  pretoria  |  politics

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