North West premier denies withdrawing defamation case against business forum

Johannesburg – North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has dismissed reports that he has withdrawn his defamation case against the North West Business Forum.

"The fact of the matter is that the case has been removed from the urgent roll and the respondents, who agreed to the removal, were consulted. The matter will still sit, albeit not on an urgent basis," his spokesperson, Brian Setswambung, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mahumapelo filed an urgent application earlier this month to stop members of the forum from making defamatory statements about him.

The forum launched a campaign in 2015 - which included a song - to get Mahumapelo removed from office.

On Tuesday, forum spokesperson Skhalo Mogodiri told News24 that they were disappointed by Mahumapelo’s decision to withdraw his application for an interdict against it. The matter would have been heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday morning.

Setswambung said that, at the end of January, Mahumapelo’s lawyers had served forum members Mogodiri, Fana Moraka, Themba Gwabeni and Oupa Mphomane with papers demanding they stop their attacks on Mahumapelo’s reputation, and provide a written apology, or face litigation.

Mahumapelo initiated legal proceedings after the forum endorsed two songs which alleged that he was corrupt. Setswambung said this was followed by a sustained campaign on various media platforms, where the same allegations were repeated, including at a media briefing in Mahikeng on February 14.

In its papers, the group said it did not intend to defame Mahumapelo or commit any violence against him or influence anyone to do so.

Mogodiri was not immediately available to comment on Thursday.

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