Cape Town – Five City councillors who recently resigned from the DA have set out to sue party leader Mmusi Maimane for R1 million each for defamation.
Former City chief whip Shaun August, Mayco members Suzette Little and Siyabulela Mamkeli, and councillors Greg Barnardo and Thulani Stemele instructed their attorneys to get the legal ball rolling, and said on Thursday Maimane had been issued a summons.
“We are each claiming damages in the amount of R1 million from him. Maimane damaged our reputations gratuitously and widely, and he was not man enough to correct his own conduct,” Little said.
The case stems from when Maimane had claimed that the councillors were implicated in the Bowman’s report, and that they were covering up corruption in the City.
“Maimane issued a replacement Bokamoso newsletter but did not retract his comments. In fact, his replacement Bokamoso newsletter continued to accuse us of being party to some sort of cover-up. We instructed our attorneys to sue Maimane for defamation,” Little said.
In response to the councillors’ legal action, DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said Maimane’s lawyers would respond in due course.
“The five ex-DA councillors who resigned are ardent defenders of corruption. The DA is better off without them,” Malatsi said.
This comes as the DA had abandoned the Steenhuisen Committee’s findings against former mayor Patricia de Lille following a Western Cape High Court agreement order, said De Lille.
“On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, the Western Cape High Court granted an order by agreement in which the DA abandoned all of the Steenhuisen Committee’s findings against me. This closes another chapter in a year of DA dirty tricks against me.
“The Steenhuisen Report made unsubstantiated and sweeping findings against me; findings that the committee was not entitled to arrive at given that it had adopted an informal style without the opportunity for the veracity of the gossip and allegations to be tested through cross-examination,” she said.
But DA chief whip John Steenhuisen on Thursday refuted De Lille’s claim that the party had abandoned the findings.
He said the parties had come to an agreement not to pursue the case in court, but no resolution had been taken to abandon the findings. “What De Lille has said is a misrepresentation of the facts.”