Baleka Mbete considering legal action after tweet alleging she did not declare business interests

2018-06-16 16:52
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. (Paul Herman, News24)

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. (Paul Herman, News24)

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National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says she is seeking legal advice after tweets circulating that she allegedly had several business interests which were not declared to Parliament's Registrar of Members' Interests.

Parliament's spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement that Mbete had noted with dismay the dissemination of false, malicious and defamatory gossip on Twitter claiming that she has several business interests which were not divulged to Parliament.

Mothapo said the source of the "outrageous and spurious" claims, which had been retweeted thousands of times, seemed to come from a parody twitter account called @AdvBarryRoux.

The tweet read: "Baleka Mbete owns 146 trucks, her trucks transport iron ore and coke (not cold drink some type of coal) from kuruman to durban, and she hired 136 Zimbabweans and only 10 south africans. She did not disclose this to parliament. #ZumaFiles."

Mothapo said another account @alfred_cabonena then allegedly rehashed similar claims: "Know your politician. - Baleka Mbete(speaker of parliament) owns 146 trucks, her trucks transport iron ore and coke(not cold drink some type of coal)from kuruman to durban, surprisingly she hired 136 Zimbabweans and only 10 south africans."

Mothapo said the @AdvBarryRoux account, in particular, had been spreading fabricated and malicious claims against prominent South Africans, without any evidence.

"The Speaker wishes to specifically place it on the record that all the allegations against her in these tweets are false and baseless.

"She has no interests, financial or otherwise, in any of the business entities stated, let alone logistics or trucking companies. All her assets have been declared, as required by the parliamentary ethics code, and are a matter of public information," Mothapo said.

"Whatever the intention of this account might be, those responsible for it ought to know they have no right under the law to disseminate false, libelous, slanderous, or defamatory gossip against others on social media.

"The Speaker respects the right of all South Africans to freedom of speech, which includes freedom to receive or impart information or ideas. However, such rights come with responsibilities and may not defame others without evidence." 

Read more on:    baleka mbete  |  politcs

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