He lies, says Roux’s former lawyer

2011-06-18 18:29

Controversial property developer Roux Shabangu’s former lawyer denies his claim that she falsely penned a letter stating that Shabangu was a long-standing friend of President Jacob Zuma.

Pretoria lawyer Natalie Visagie stands by the letter she wrote in response to newspaper inquiries about Shabangu’s role in police commissioner General Bheki Cele’s controversial R500-million property deal for a new police headquarters.

Visagie told City Press on Friday: “I deny the (Shabangu’s) allegations. I have no further comments.”

Her reaction came after the billionaire developer called a special press conference to put on record that he was not a friend of Zuma.

This was after Visagie wrote to the Sunday Times, which broke the story of the controversial police leasing deal last year, saying that her client (Shabangu) was Zuma’s friend.

Zuma has yet to comment on the claim.

Shabangu told journalists he wished to rectify claims about the “so-called” long-standing friendship he supposedly had with Zuma.

“I do not have a long-standing friendship whatsoever with our president”, he assured journalists.

“What I do admit”, he said, “is the fact that I am a supporter of the ANC as a political party. I am a member of the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum.”

He “acknowledged” that there had been “misreporting” and said he had “taken the necessary steps in trying to rectify this matter”.

During question time, Sunday Times journalists presented Visagie’s letter. It stated: “President Zuma is a long-standing friend of my client.”

The journalists also told Shabangu that he had claimed Zuma’s friendship in an interview with them last year.

Shabangu responded: “I distance myself from that letter,” adding that it was written without his consent and that it was the reason he had fired Visagie as his lawyer. 

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