Trollip defamation case against ex-ANC councillor postponed

2017-02-14 17:02
Athol Trollip. (File)

Athol Trollip. (File)

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Port Elizabeth – A defamation case brought by Mayor Athol Trollip against a former ANC councillor in Nelson Mandela Bay, Lawrence Troon, was postponed in the Grahamstown High Court on Monday.

Trollip is suing Troon for R5m after he and former DA councillor Knight Mali produced statements from several men and women who claimed they had once worked on or near Trollip's former farm, Mount Prospect, outside Bedford.

Trollip, a DA chairperson, is also suing Mali for R1m following comments made by him on social media last year.

Among other claims, the group of farmworkers said they had been poorly paid and badly treated by the Trollip family. The allegations initially surfaced in 2015, more than a decade after Trollip had sold the farm, and were constantly raised against Trollip during his mayoral election campaign.

An ANC press conference presented eight of the Bedford farmworkers to the media in late July last year, just days before the local municipal elections.

Claims of more evidence

Trollip has denied the allegations and has argued that Troon deliberately set out to defame him, causing irreparable harm to his name and reputation.

Troon asked for a postponement on Monday, saying his witnesses, the farmworkers, were scattered across the Eastern Cape. He agreed to pay costs, believed to be around R60 000, for the delay.

It also came to light that Troon had applied for legal aid, as he is now unemployed after he failed to regain his seat in council following the elections last year. His application, however, was turned down.

In a statement on Monday, Mali said Troon needed time to gather more evidence against Trollip as more surviving farmworkers had come forward "to tender more evidence on allegations of gross abuse they suffered on Mr Trollip's farm".

"The farmworkers are resolute and adamant about their allegations against Trollip. They want to seize the opportunity to testify and expose all their alleged abuse before the judge," said Mali.

Trollip is expected to apply for a new court date, but it is unlikely the matter will be heard before next year.

Read more on:    athol trollip  |  port elizabeth  |  lawsuits
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