‘She’s claimed this twice before’

2011-10-29 19:01

Yesterday just before noon, Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula’s lawyer Themba Langa sent this response on his client’s behalf.

“Our client (Mbalula) insists that there is actually no basis for City Press to publish the allegations of (the model), a person who is known to be an extortionist in her social circles.

The intention of City Press, and other media, to rely on the untested and baseless allegations of a person who is known to be a source of lies and blackmail is shocking.

City Press can’t verify her allegations about our client, including the imputation that she is also pregnant.

It is entirely unjustifiable for City Press to hold the view of the extortionist (the model) without City Press satisfying itself that she is not using the media to extort money from our client.

We have SMS messages that demonstrate that she is telling lies and that she is using City Press to pursue her interest to extort money from our client or to make money from City Press.

It is false and defamatory for the extortionist to allege that she had a sexual encounter with our client, and City Press cannot become a source of publication to such spurious and false allegations.

The intention of City Press to publish false and adverse allegations against our client is not only unlawful but in violation of the duty that City Press has towards our client, as the extortionist has a general reputation of using blackmail and unsavoury tactics to extort money from others.

City Press is not entitled to publish the allegations which emanate from an obvious liar and extortionist without establishing extrinsic evidence, particularly when City Press has failed to submit the woman to a medical examination in order to prove the pregnancy allegation.

Further to that, City Press has a duty to establish, through written statements from witnesses who allegedly witnessed the alleged sexual encounter, and the absence of such statements deprives City Press of any legal basis to publish those allegations as City Press has no right whatsoever to damage the reputation of our client on allegations that are objectively and reasonably false and defamatory.

It is apparent from the questions that City Press sent to our client that City Press has selectively excluded evidence that patently points to the woman’s intention to extort money from our client.

We contend that City Press has a duty to report a balanced and fair comment on the allegations, provided those allegations are true.

In this case all the jurisdictional factors of article that City Press intends to publish are false in that the woman is not pregnant, in so far as it has not been proved by any medical examination which has been paid for by City Press in execution of its duty to report fairly.

It is equally irresponsible and unlawful for City Press to seek to publish its own conclusions from their reading of feeble and plainly innocuous SMS messages between our client and the extortionist.

City Press is only able to arrive at such a conclusions as the City Press analysis is devoid of the context of the communication, and to this end City Press is clearly in violation of the Press Code which specifically obliges City Press to present allegations “in context and in a balanced manner, without any intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by distortion, exaggeration or misrepresentation, material omissions, or summarisation”.

We are of the view that City Press’ intention to publish these allegations is unlawful and defamatory in that the path or focus of the questions leaves us with no doubt that City Press is going to hit the headlines with information that is untrue.

From the questions, it is clear that City Press will rely on angles of the story that will give it a “defamatory sting” by using the alleged “sex”, “unprotected sex” and “pregnancy” statements or phrases to inflict damage to the reputation of our client, when actually the aforegoing is known to be untrue to City Press.

The extortionist has made the same claims against at least two other men within the last 12 to 15 months.”

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