Durban businessman sues journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh for R10m over Gangster State revelations

2019-05-02 09:43
Gangster State, by Pieter-Louis Myburgh

Gangster State, by Pieter-Louis Myburgh

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Journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh is facing a R10m defamation suit from Durban-based businessman Vikash Narsai over revelations in his book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture.

News24 has seen a copy of the court papers. Narsai is claiming R5m in damages for himself and R5m his company, Nexor 312.

The papers were filed on April 15.

According to Myburgh’s book, Narsai was involved in a R220m housing project near the Free State town of Vrede.

"A band of politically connected contractors were appointed to build 1 000 houses for some of Vrede’s poorest inhabitants, yet five years after the project began, less than 200 houses were finished," Myburgh’s wrote in Chapter 16.

Myburgh also details allegations that former president Jacob Zuma was paid a R2m "thank-you fee".

Narsai claims in court papers that the publisher of the book, Penguin Random House Publishers, had previously refused to concede that the entire chapter and sections relating to Narsai were defamatory, and had further refused to remove the chapter from the book.

"The plaintiffs [Nexor 312 and Narsai] have a reasonable apprehension that the defendants [Penguin and Myburgh] will continue in their actions in publishing and distributing the book (with the chapter therein contained),"the papers read.

Narsai in the main objects to the fact that the chapter paints a picture that he and his company were part of corrupt activities, paid bribes to secure the tender, unlawfully obtained work outside a tender process through a corrupt relationship with government officials and he and his company were involved in a scheme to siphon public funds away from the housing project.

In the papers, he describes the contents of the book as false and defamatory insofar as it concerns him.

Myburgh would not comment on the matter.

"We are defending the matter through our attorneys but prefer not to comment on the merits since it is now the subject of a legal dispute," he said.

Penguin also said it could not comment on the merits of the suit at this stage. 

This is a developing story.

Read more on:    vikash narsai  |  pieter-louis myburgh  |  gangster state
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