5 former councillors threaten to sue Maimane over maladministration claims

2018-10-28 17:05
The DA flag is waving. (Nelius Rademan, Gallo Images, Foto24, file)

The DA flag is waving. (Nelius Rademan, Gallo Images, Foto24, file)

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DA leader Mmusi Maimane's retraction of his statement accusing five former City of Cape Town councillors of maladministration is not good enough and they will continue with legal action unless they get a formal retraction and apology, says the City's former chief whip Shaun August.

August and four other councillors who resigned from the council this week have threatened to sue Maimane for defamation if he does not retract a statement he made, intimating their involvement in maladministration.

August and the others - Suzette Little, Siya Mamkeli, Thulani Stemele and Greg Barnardo - announced this at a press conference on Sunday.

SABC News later reported that Maimane's spokesperson Graham Charters said that he has retracted the statement. 

But August insisted that a retraction via his spokesperson to the media is not good enough.

"Maimane made the statement out of his own mouth. He then wrote it in his weekly newsletter issued to hundreds of thousands of South Africans," he tweeted. "Getting his spokesperson to say he retracts is weak, cowardly and insufficient. He has defamed us.

"He has our demands which aren't unreasonable. He must issue a public apology and retraction. He must also issue a new Bokamoso newsletter where he retracts the allegations and apologises and must send that newsletter to the hundreds of thousands of South Africans to whom he defamed us."

August was referring to comments by Maimane in his "Bokomoso" newsletter published by the DA on Friday, as well as comments to the media.

In the newsletter, titled, "Cape Town city council: We cannot sacrifice accountability on the altar of false racial victimhood", Maimane said that the DA had "sought accountability" in the City of Cape Town.

"Playing the race card is also a convenient way to escape accountability," he wrote.

He said that reports compiled by law firm Bowman Gilfillan (Bowmans), into allegations of maladministration at the City, "made adverse findings against some councillors".

"For five Cape Town councillors, the DA wasn't a racist party last month. But now that they've been shown to be the most ardent defenders of maladministration, despite evidence which has now been confirmed by a credible forensic investigation, the DA is suddenly a racist party. These five councillors have resigned, claiming racial victimhood. Can it be coincidence that they have suddenly decided the DA is racist?" Maimane wrote.

In a lawyer's letter released to the media on Sunday, the five councillors said that Maimane also said in various news reports that the Bowmans reports "made serious findings against those people".

But the five say they were not implicated in the reports at all.

They have demanded a public apology by Maimane by 18:00 on Monday night, or they will sue for defamation.

Deputy chief of staff in Maimane's office Graham Charters told News24 on Sunday that Maimane would be responding to August's claims via his lawyers.

Read the full statement:

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