Andile Mngxitama ordered to retract from bashing Patrice Motsepe

2019-05-09 17:45
Patrice Motsepe  (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)

Patrice Motsepe (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)

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BLF leader Andile Mngxitama has been ordered by the Gauteng High Court sitting in Johannesburg, to refrain from continuing to accuse billionaire and mining mogul, Patrice Motsepe, of meddling in Botswana's politics.

In his ruling on Thursday, Judge Thifhelimbilu Mudau, also ordered Mangxitama to remove all injurious statements or references relating to or regarding Motsepe published on his party's website.

The ruling was expected to be implemented immediately as an interim order, pending the outcome of an action which Motsepe instituted against Mngxitama and his party.

The matter between Motsepe and Mngxitama is expected to head to trial.

Coup allegations

Mngxitama accused Motsepe, his sister Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe, who is married to Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe of allegedly plotting a coup in Botswana, interfering with the electoral process of Botswana and being agents of regime change.

Motsepe-Radebe, 59, is president of the South African Mining Development Association. She is also the older sister of President Cyril Ramaphosa's wife, Tshepo Motsepe.

Botswana recently banned Motsepe-Radebe from entering the country visa-free, according to documents seen by AFP.

South Africans normally do not require an advance visa to travel to their land-locked, diamond-rich neighbour.

The document did not state a reason for the visa requirement, although Motsepe-Radebe has faced allegations she interfered in the recent leadership election of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a bid to remove President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Local media reports alleged she and her mining mogul brother had funded the campaign of President Masisi's rival for the party top job, former foreign affairs minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

READ: Botswana revokes visa-free entry for Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe

Motsepe's lawyer, advocate John Campbell, argued that Mngxitama's allegations that Motsepe was financing a coup in Botswana were based on articles published in the Botswana based newspaper- Sunday Standard.

"The applicant is a businessman who travels extensively and doesn't want to be accused of such. The allegations are damaging, inflammatory and insulting. There is no basis to suggest at all, that the applicant has an involvement in the allegations reported by Sunday Standard. There is no basis at all."

Freedom of speech

Mngixitama's lawyer, advocate Luyanda Nyandiwe responded that the court should deem his client's utterances as freedom of speech.

"There is a public debate about Motsepe-Radebe and her involvement in Botswana. The applicant is not an office bearer but, a public figure. We are saying that we must debate his influence in Botswana. The facts are that his sister is accused of political influence in the majority party in Botswana."

Mngxitama said he was not surprised by Judge Mudau's ruling. 

"Black Land First is involved in battles with very powerful individuals in society. Land thieves have put us in court. We have been in court and could not campaign. Agents of white monopoly capital also in our view made sure we are unable to express fully the abuse of power which comes with money. We have said to Mostepe when he gave us letters of demand and asked what is untruthful and if you tell us we will be able to retract."

Mngxitama said if Motsepe felt that he had misrepresented the facts, he was open to meet with him.

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