Cape Town – Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the Build One South Africa party and former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), has been ordered to pay over R475 000 in damages for defamation to four former DA councillors.
According to IOL, Maimane had wrongly accused them of being implicated in maladministration at the City of Cape Town five years ago.
The defamation order was issued by the Western Cape High Court on Friday.
Maimane, who was DA leader at the time, accused the four former councillors, Suzette Little, Siya Mamkeli, Thulani Stemele, and Greg Barnardo, of being implicated in a Bowmans report that found maladministration at the City.
Subsequently, all four joined the GOOD party, launched by Patricia de Lille in 2018.
NEWS: The Western Cape High Court has ordered Build One SA leader Mmusi Maimane to pay almost half a million Rand to compensate 4 former DA councillors of Cape Town who are now members of the Good Party. The former councillors sued him for defamation when during his time as DA pic.twitter.com/l7k1dc2Zsd
— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 14, 2023
Maimane did not apologise when the four called on him to retract his statement and apologise.
In March 2023, he finally apologised and made a full retraction of the statements in a newspaper and on a website, also offering to pay each of the former councillors R35 000 in compensation and costs. However, the plaintiffs rejected the apology and the tender as being “too little, too late”, the report quoted Acting Judge Susan van Zyl as saying.
Van Zyl ordered Maimane to pay damages of R100 000 to one plaintiff, R120 000 each to two others, and R135 000 to the fourth.
The court stated that Maimane’s defamatory statements had a significant impact on the former councillors, and the fact that they came from the national leader of the DA made matters worse.
Great to see politicians being held accountable for the things that they say – we hope this acts as a warning to othershttps://t.co/olMaFRRy2K
— Cape Independence Advocacy Group (@LetsFreeTheCape) October 15, 2023
The former councillors reported negative consequences, such as difficulty securing funds for their new political party, unemployment, eviction, loss of vehicles, and damage to their reputations, as a result of Maimane’s false allegations. They expressed that if Maimane had retracted and apologized earlier, the damage might have been mitigated.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu