'I'm not shaken', says church man slapped with R22m defamation suit over claims ATM is brainchild of Magashule, Zuma

2019-06-28 17:44
Former general secretary of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ, Buyisile Ngqulwana Ngqwalana, with President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ntsikane Bantu church leader Priest Hoho. (Supplied)

Former general secretary of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ, Buyisile Ngqulwana Ngqwalana, with President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ntsikane Bantu church leader Priest Hoho. (Supplied)

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Secretary general of the messianic churches, Buyisile Ngqulwana who claims the African Transformation Movement (ATM) is the brainchild of ANC secretary general Ace Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma, says he is not shaken after the party slapped him with a R22m defamation lawsuit. 

"Nothing is going to shake me because I did not commit any crime. I was telling the truth," he told News24 on Friday. 

Ngqulwana claimed Magashule suggested the organisation should start a political party and Zuma was roped in to assist it.

READ: ATM attempts to link messianic churches to Ramaphosa

The ATM has since disputed the claims that it was Magashule and Zuma's brainchild.

Some in the ANC believe Magashule was involved, claiming that evidence had been handed over to the party in Cape Town as proof, News24 previously reported.

However, in a letter addressed to Ngqulwana - which was written by AJ Magigaba from M. Magigaba Incorporated Attorneys - the ATM stated that statements made by Ngqulwana were believed by the public as being "true whereas, in actual fact, the statements were blatant lies, solely intended to injure the reputation of our client in its capacity as a political party".

Magigaba said the same statements were contained in Ngqulwana's affidavit filed in support of an application before the Electoral Court and were believed by the media.

"At all material times, you acted under false pretences that you are the secretary-general of the council, although you are not.

"The members of the public then viewed our client as the proxy vehicle for Jacob Zuma and Ace Magashule, something that seriously damaged our client at the elections that was held on May 8, 2019," read part of the letter.

Magigaba said as a result of Ngqulwana's claims, the ATM won fewer seats than it would have, had he not "deceived" the public by his statement.

The party garnered two seats in the National Assembly.

ALSO READ: ANC confirms probe into claims that members helped create other parties

"As a direct consequence of your actions, our client suffered damages to an amount of R22m in which we are instructed to demand from you."

Ngqulwana was given 20 days from the date of receipt of the letter to make payment or face legal action.

Ngqulwana told News24 he was unable to pay the money and that he does not have funds to defend himself in court.

"How did they arrive at R22m? I won't be able to pay. I know what I stand for [and] I am speaking the truth. They are trying to disturb the investigations. They are trying to intimidate me [and] I won't apologise to anyone because I did nothing wrong," he said.

"I will be writing to the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] of the country asking for help. My life is at risk. The point that I was saying to people is that the ATM is a project of Ace Magashule and [Jacob] Zuma. It is clear they are trying to disturb this investigation that the ANC is undertaking."  

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Read more on:    anc  |  atm  |  ace maga­shule  |  zuma  |  jacob  |  buyisile ngqulwana  |  politics

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