Mthembu wants public apology from Motsoeneng for ‘outrageous claims’

2016-11-17 15:55
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Cape Town - ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu wants R1m and an apology from SABC group executive of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng over comments he made about him at a New Age breakfast last month.

A statement from the office of the Chief Whip on Thursday said Mthembu's legal counsel has initiated formal court proceedings for "malicious and defamatory allegations" after Motsoeneng made "outrageous claims and veiled threats" against him.

"There is no doubt that Mr Motsoeneng’s claims are unfounded, unsubstantiated and blatantly false," Mthembu's statement said.

"The made-up accusations, aired publicly on live television, were intended to impugn the character of the Chief Whip."

Motsoeneng had said Mthembu was not in a position to make "noise" regarding the SABC. He also said Mthembu had tried to "capture" him.

Mthembu said the comments were clearly designed to threaten and blackmail him and the ANC in Parliament into silence over the SABC and suggested he was driven by ulterior motives.

Parliament is currently holding an inquiry into the SABC board. One of the concerns raised by MPs was the reappointment of Motsoeneng in an executive position after being ordered by Supreme Court of Appeal that he leave his position as COO.

In the court papers, Mthembu is seeking payment of R1m, an unconditional apology from Motsoeneng, and costs. The apology must be both in print and on public broadcast within seven days of the court's judgment.

"The chief whip remains unshaken and unintimidated by Mr Motsoeneng’s spurious allegations and attempted blackmail, and is hopeful that a favourable judgment of the Court would dissuade Mr Motsoeneng from making similar thoughtless utterances in future."

Motsoeneng's lawyer Advocate Zola Majavu said they would not comment on the suit.

"We will deal with that in court when it happens," he told News24.

'He should not talk too much'

Motsoeneng had made the comments on air at a New Age breakfast held on October 27.

At the breakfast, he said Mthembu "should not talk too much" and should allow Parliament's portfolio committee on communications to handle the SABC.

He said he met Mthembu at an unnamed hotel and suggested the meeting was an attempt to "capture him".

"Jackson Mthembu should be the last person to talk about the SABC," Motsoeneng had said.

"I met so many people, and they know they cannot capture me. That is reality.

"So he should not talk too much, and he can't say he is leading the process of the SABC and make noise, even before the process of the portfolio committee [is complete]."

He suggested Mthembu was trying to influence Parliament's portfolio committee on communications into then finalising the inquiry into the board.

Read more on:    anc  |  sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  jackson mthembu  |  media

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