Reserve Bank governor sues ANC councillor Andile Lungisa for R500k over 'lackey of racists', k-word tweets

Governor of the SA Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago. (Gallo Images, Brenton Geach)
Governor of the SA Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago. (Gallo Images, Brenton Geach)

Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is suing outspoken ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa for R500 000 for defamation after two tweets which characterised Kganyago as a "lackey of racist people".

An unrepentant Lungisa on Tuesday confirmed to News24 that he has received the summons and that he will oppose it.

Lungisa's tweets came at the height of the public spat within the ANC about the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank in June.

On June 5, Lungisa tweeted: "He, like many of his ilk, imagines that proximity to the culturally fetid but economically Neo-settlers, coupled with a few lattes makes him an exceptional k****r".

This tweet, which was accompanied by a photo of Kganyago, is no longer visible on Lungisa's timeline, but a screengrab accompanies Kganyago's court papers.

Lungisa used the k-word in full in his tweet.

A day later, he again tweeted: "Lesetja Kganyago, a dutiful servant of our racialist classes supérieures, is an ardent disciple of the neoliberal dystopia that has condemned millions of African people to a desolate existence."

In his affidavit, dated August 7, Kganyago states that Lungisa had about 20 000 followers at the time of publication and that these statements were widely read by the public.

"The publication of the first and second statements [the tweets] was wrongful and are per se defamatory of the plaintiff," reads Kganyago's affidavit.

He further states that the tweets were intended to mean that he:

  • "is a lackey of racist people in our society";
  • "does the bidding for racist people in our society";
  • "belittles himself in order to be accepted by racist and supremacist people in our society";
  • "does not care about the poor living conditions of millions of black people as long as he is acceptable to racist and supremacist people in our society"; and
  • "regards himself as an exceptional k****r".

Lungisa regards the court application as from the "realm of the absurd".

"The governor of the Reserve Bank is suing me for R500k because I correctly characterised him and his ilk as useful idiots of settler capital," he said.

"Lesetja cavalierly calls ANC members 'barbarians at the gate' for calling for the nationalisation of the SARB, but cries and takes refuge in courts when we return his insults with facts," he said in reference to Kganyago's characterisation that the attacks on the Reserve Bank is the arrival of the "barbarians at the gate of SARB".

"The settler media with its black mascots has been discredited and nullified by the emergence of social media," Lungisa said. He said courts are the new site of battle.

"Lesetja and the Jamnandases of this world believe that freedom of speech is for the settlers and their errand boys."

"Jamnandas" is a reference to State Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, also often used by the EFF. Gordhan's middle name is Jamnadas.

"Needless to say, I will not be paying. This is an extortion racket designed to silence those that oppose the marginalisation of our society by an arrogant settler minority," Lungisa claimed.

Also on Tuesday, it emerged that former minister Derek Hanekom is suing former president Jacob Zuma for defamation, also for R500 000, regarding a tweet from Zuma that Hanekom was a spy. 

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