Prince Mashele writes fiery letter to EFF lawyers as war of words heats up

2018-11-06 19:47
Prince Mashele. (Screengrab)

Prince Mashele. (Screengrab)

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Promises of radical economic transformation is a looting mechanism - analyst

2017-05-17 09:50

Political analyst Prince Mashele says promises of radical economic transformation is nothing but hot air. Watch.WATCH

Political analyst Prince Mashele has refused to apologise to the EFF and its leader Julius Malema after the party threatened to sue him over comments he made during television interviews.

Last week, the EFF instituted legal action against Mashele, demanding a public apology or R500 000.

Mashele ruffled feathers during interviews on SABC and eNCA, claiming Malema's party was established to pursue corrupt activities. The analyst was commenting on the VBS Mutual Bank saga, in which around R1.9bn was looted from the bank's coffers.

Brian Shivambu, the brother of Malema's EFF deputy, Floyd Shivambu, has been implicated in the "heist".

In a letter dated November 2 and addressed to Kwinana Mabuza Nkome Seth Attorneys (KMNS), which acts on behalf of the EFF and its leader, Mashele wrote: "I note that the contents of the letter represent the injured feelings of your client, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and their so-called commander-in-chief, Mr Julius Sello Malema.

"It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge a piece of truth contained in your letter: that, on October 16, I gave a television interview to the SABC in response to the jaw-dropping looting of money from VBS bank by a sordid coterie of political and non-political thugs."

Mashele wrote that he needed clarity before he could respond to the party's confusing demands.

"I am happy to live with the strong suspicion that your clients are the sole source of the confusion. This suspicion is neither wanton nor unjustifiable, for you yourself have made it plain that your letter was sent to me on behalf of your clients. Alas, lawyers are creatures of instruction!"

'Shameless thugs'

He wrote that "it was quite possible that some of these shameless thugs wear red T-shirts and berets, and that others among them may hold elevated positions in pseudo-revolutionary, kleptocratic outfits that masquerade as political parties".

He said he was unable to respond to the demands of the EFF before certain material things were "purged of obscurity".

Mashele hoped that the EFF was not so desperate for R500 000 and that it could not wait for his response after the crucial clarity he needed from them. 

"I hope the hilarity of the idea of threatening to sue a political analyst for expressing a political opinion, which is what political analysts must do, has not escaped your clients. It is like threatening to sue a politician for expressing a political view, or, to bring matters home, threatening to sue a lawyer for expressing a legal opinion.

"Surely your clients must be tickled by this mirthful picture! Since your letter is an admixture of jests and semi-serious stuff, I suspect your clients will appreciate why it is extremely difficult for me to separate wheat from chaff," he wrote.

Responding to the letter, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi warned Mashele that they would meet in court.

READ: EFF denies AfriForum claims that its assets are about to be seized to pay R337 000 costs orders

Ndlozi said he was sure that Mashele would direct the judge to a clause in the Constitution or an act of law that says political analysts have the privilege to break the rights to human dignity of those they analyse.

"We will meet in court then," said Ndlozi.

'EFF must approach Brian for a loan'

Mashele, in a thinly veiled jab, said if the EFF's financial situation was very dire, their attorneys must advise the party to approach Brian Shivambu for a loan while waiting for the money they seem to be expecting from him.

READ: VBS scandal: MPs take the Mickey out of the EFF in parliamentary debate

"For, as you can reasonably imagine, what your clients expect from me may, in the end, turn out to be ukuza kukaNxele (something that will never happen). There are many ways to recover looted money, but looted time is gone forever. As you may know, time always fades into the past. And, once a minute has so slipped, it is eternally irretrievable. So is the time looted by the VBS thugs from me," he said.

He claimed that it was not only money that stood between the EFF and what it expected from him - the party was demanding something much more valuable than R500 000 – an apology.

Mashele demands answers

In the letter, Mashele poses several questions to the law firm and its clients: 

  • What is your clients' understanding of "political analysis"?
  • What is their understanding of "political opinion"?
  • What is their understanding of the distinction between "fact" and "opinion"? Do they understand a political analyst as a chronicler of facts or an expresser of opinions, and why?
  • What do your clients think a political analyst does, and, if they have some understanding, what accounts for their confidence in the assumed correctness of their understanding?
  • When a political analyst is invited by the SABC, or by any other broadcaster, do your clients expect the political analyst to enumerate facts or to express a political opinion?
  • When Julius Sello Malema once referred to President Cyril Ramaphosa as a "murderer", was this, according to your clients, a fact or opinion – and, if it was an opinion, does such an opinion fall under a class of things which learned men of your esteemed status, my dear learned sir, refer to as "defamatory statements"? 
  • What do your clients understand by the concept of "deductive reasoning" in social analysis?
  • What do your clients think is the distinction between "synthesis" and "analysis" in political discourse?
  • How qualified are your clients to pass judgment as to the validity or otherwise of a political opinion?

With Mashele adamant he won't back down and the EFF taking the legal route, it's not clear who will blink first in the heated war of words.

Read more on:    eff  |  sabc  |  floyd shivambu  |  brian shivambu  |  julius malema

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