Mmusi Maimane plays the victim card

Mmusi Maimane plays the victim card

Build One One South Africa (Bosa) and former DA leader Mmusi Maimane has described himself as a victim of a class action after he was ordered to pay nearly half a million in damages to four former DA councillors he accused of being implicated in maladministration in the City of Cape Town in 2018.

The order against Maimane was handed down in the Western Cape High Court on Friday. Maimane accused former councillors Shaun August, Suzette Little, Thulani Stemele and Greg Barnardo of being implicated in the Bowmans Report in covering up corruption in the City. This, after they resigned from the DA citing racism.

Maimane, who was the DA’s leader at the time, told the media that the report made serious findings against the councillors and they should be investigated.

On October 26, 2018, he published an electronic newsletter, known as Bokamoso, to a large national and international audience via email, stating, among others, that: “In Cape Town, the DA sought accountability.

The City commissioned a report with independent legal firm Bowman Gilfillan, which made adverse findings against some councillors.

“For five Cape Town councillors, the DA wasn’t a racist party last month. But now that a credible forensic investigation by a credible legal firm has allegedly implicated them in tender irregularities, the DA is suddenly a racist party.

“These five councillors have resigned, claiming racial victimhood.

Can it be coincidence that they have suddenly decided the DA is racist now that they stand accused of maladministration?”

He did not apologise when the four called on him to retract his statement and apologise. In March this year, before the hearing, Maimane apologised, retracted the statement and offered to pay the plaintiffs R35 000 each.

However, they rejected the offer and instead claimed amounts ranging from R200 000 to R350 000.

Acting Judge Van Zyl found Maimane did not comply with a letter of demand that he retract and apologise for the statements a day after they were made.

Judge Van Zyl noted that the statements were defamatory and widely published. She ordered Maimane to pay August R100 000 in damages, Little and Stemele R120 000 each, and Barnardo R135 000.

Reacting to the judgment on Sunday, Maimane said: “God is my refuge.

I’m now a victim of a class action by a number of councillors while at the time I sought to defend the people of Cape Town and the party of government which I was leading. The judgment hinges on recent defamation cases while in fact this was an intra party issue from 2018. I’ve been travelling and as such will consult with my lawyers post studying the judgment.”

August said they were glad they could put the chapter behind them.

“It’s been five years. Five years of explaining that I was not corrupt nor mentioned in any reports of corruption. I have offered Mmusi the opportunity to apologise but he was too arrogant to do so. He said I will see you in court, and that’s just what we did,” he said.

Little, Stemele and Barnardo did not respond to requests for comment by deadline on Sunday.

Cape Times