Mpumalanga ANC spy saga: Phosa challenges premier to take him to court

2015-12-09 15:52
(Photo: Bongiwe Gumede)

(Photo: Bongiwe Gumede)

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Mbombela - Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s intention to sue former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa for defamation has taken a new twist after the respondent challenged the plaintiff to take the matter to trial.

Mabuza and Phosa have been at war with each other for some time now.

Their relationship publicly broke down last November when Mabuza said he was in the process of instituting a R10m civil claim against Phosa because Phosa had given ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte a dossier suggesting Mabuza was an apartheid spy.

Phosa handed the dossier to Duarte for an internal ANC investigation.

Mabuza alleged that Phosa had formulated the dossier himself to tarnish his image.

This week Phosa successfully approached the Pretoria’s North Gauteng High Court for a trial date.

"If the plaintiff had a valid claim, the plaintiff would have long applied for a trial date... I believe he does not have a valid claim and that this matter must be finalised quickly in the interest of justice.

"I’m calling him to come to court. Justice delayed is justice denied," Phosa told African Eye News Service in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

'Time for making noise at press conferences is over'

During a media conference in November last year, a confident Mabuza accused Phosa of writing the alleged spy dossier which implicates Mabuza in a number of spying activities, including the capture of ANC operative, Portia Shabangu.

"I want him (Phosa) to prove that fact in court. For now, all we know is that the document comes from him. He will tell us where he got it, and we will take it where it originates, but sitting here I know where it originates. That is why I’m saying he’s author of that document,” said Mabuza at the time.

More than a year later, the matter has not come before court.

Phosa, however, said that if Mabuza was sure about his case it would not have taken him more than a year to apply for a trial date.

"The time for making noise at press conferences is over," said Phosa.

Earlier this year, Mabuza’s star witness, Jan Venter, had a default judgment against him for stealing Phosa’s money and was ordered to pay back over R53 000.

In October this year, Venter turned his back on Mabuza and confessed that he was given money to implicate Phosa as the author of the alleged spy report.

During a press conference, Venter produced documents to prove that he had been getting money from another of Mabuza’s attorneys, Ian Small-Smith, which included almost R150 000 to pay for an advocate.

Small-Smith admitted giving money to Venter, but said it was only to help him pay his legal fees.

'They must come and prove their claim'

Venter also disclosed that he had been working with people from the office of President Jacob Zuma and the State Security Agency, and that he pulled out when he was told of a decision to kill Phosa.

Both the Presidency and the State Security Agency have denied that anyone in their offices had worked with Venter.

Meanwhile, Mabuza’s attorney, Davis Mculu, said he had not seen the notice of trial as he had been out of his office since the beginning of the month.

Mculu defended the delays to apply for a trial date, accusing Phosa of applying for a trial before pleas could be closed. Pleading is the beginning stage of a lawsuit in which parties formally submit their claims and defenses.

"We could not have done that (apply for a trial date) because what actually happened is that his (Phosa’s) lawyers had applied for a date of trial even before the pleadings could be closed," said Mculu.

Phosa rejected Mculu’s claims, stating: "We applied for trial after pleadings were closed. Our notice of set down was served on them. How can he not be aware of that? That is funny. They sued us. They must come and prove their claim. We are ready."

Read more on:    anc  |  david mabuza  |  mathews phosa  |  mbombela

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