Premier Oscar Mabuyana Sued For Malicious Media Statement

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NEVILLE BORMAN & BOTHA
ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW
NOTARIES & CONVEYANCERS

PO Box 38
22 Hill Street
Docex 3
GRAHAMSTOWN,
6140
South Africa

Our Ref: Mr J Powers/René

TELEPHONE: (046) 622 7200
FAX: (046) 622 7885
FAX2EMAIL: (086) 614 9571

23 November 2020

The Office of the Premier,
Province of Eastern Cape
c.o. Acting General Manager
Prevention and Communications
mbusiwekhaya@gmail.com
mbusi@icloud.com

Dear Sir

RE: MEDIA STATEMENT OF THE OFFICE OF THE PREMIER DATED 10 SEPTEMBER 2020
OUR CLIENTS: THE EASTERN CAPE BONAFIDES FORUM and BONGILE NKOLA

We act on behalf of Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum and Bongile Nkola of East London. 

We confirm that the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum is an organisation that was established primarily with the aim of having a corruption free Province that is run transparently and ethically. 

We confirm that Bongile Nkola is the provincial convenor of the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum and we further confirm that acting in that representative capacity, Mr Nkola, was the author of the letter dated 25 August 2020 addressed to the State President of South Africa, regarding widespread corruption within the Eastern Cape Province, as well as serious allegations against various government officials which require investigation by national government and requesting that such investigations as are necessary be conducted in order to stamp out corruption wherever it may be found and to hold those responsible and accountable for their actions. 

This letter was acknowledged by the Office of the State President

We are instructed to respond to a media statement addressed to “All Media for immediate release” dated 10 September 2020 released by your office in response to the said letter addressed to the State Present. We are instructed that the said Media Release contains numerous inaccuracies and raises a number of points based on unsubstantiated supposition, as well as unwarranted attack against both our clients, as well as the dismissive tone and defamatory content of the said media statement, which we summarise as follows:

  1. The letter was sent by Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum to the Office of the President. It was certainly not the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum, which posted the letter on social media platforms and sent same to journalists.
  1. The Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum has in its possession documentation in support of the allegations contained in the said letter to the State President. The documents have also been made available from the Office of the State President. Further copies will be made available to you and include:
    1. Letter to the State President dated 15 October 2020;
    2. Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum media release responding;
    3. Affidavit of Edgar Lonwabo Bam with annexures;
    4. Ayanda Peyane & Company Accounting (APAC) Report dated 27 August 2020;
    5. Public Service Commission Report dated November 2019;
    6. Deeds Office Report for Lubabalo Mabuyane dated 10 September 2020;

      Accordingly, the content of a letter from the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum to the State President is both accurate based on the facts and statements obtained confirming such facts.
  1. The personal attack in the said Media Statement on Mr Nkola in his personal capacity is both unwarranted and unjustified and such statements are defamatory in their nature and are completely at odds with the content of the letter of the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum letter to the State President, we re-iterate that said letter was not written in Mr Nkola’s private capacity, but as the provincial convenor of the organisation, Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum; and accordingly Mr Nkola had personally nothing to gain from the letter addressed to the State President and the manner in which it was sent.
  1. It is also not correct that Mr Nkola has a proverbial axe to grind with Mr Mabuyane related to any decisions that may or may not have been made by the ECDC in relation to funding. We are instructed to record that your offices ensure that you secure a full and proper report in relation to such issues within the ECDC, as your mediator statement does not accurately reflect the facts.
  1. At no stage has Mr Nkola ever portrayed himself to Mr Mabuyane as a person threatening to commit suicide and your reference to unsubstantiated hearsay allegations that Mr Nkola purportedly called Mr Mabuyane to report that Mr Nkola had died are nonsensical and made without factual foundation and are defamatory in their nature, implying that Mr Nkola is subject to suicidal tendencies and had collapsed and not died, but implying that Mr Nkola was suicidal and that it was a suicide attempt by Mr Nkola to take his own life. You have provided no proof of such allegations, despite having been called upon to do so.
  1. The conclusions drawn in the Media Statement that it is in fact Mr Nkola that is trying to “capture the state” and “capture the state’s vault” and “procurement system for his personal gain” are blatant untruths and made with no factual support whatsoever.

These statements in the media statement were intended to and did refer to Mr Nkola in his personal capacity and it was so understood by those to whom it was published.

The media statement when read as a whole states, or implies, inter alia that Mr Nkola has rejected his previously-held principles, has become greedy, and has stooped in character to bow to the evil influence of wealth and to worship and covet money above else.

As such the media statement message contains injurious contentions, alternatively, the media statement message contains statements of and concerning Mr Nkola which are untrue, and which are per se defamatory of him. Apart from the defamatory meaning set out above of the statements made in the media statementby their offices of the Premier, they carried the additional sting that Mr Nkola is:

  • Corrupt;
  • Dishonest;
  • Not a law-abiding citizen ;
  • Without moral fibre;
  • Places that riches above all else.

These Statements:

  1. Are an impairment of Mr Nkola’s person, dignity, and reputation, and degraded, humiliatedand insulted Mr Nkola; alternatively,
  1. Undermined, subverted and impaired Mr Nkola’s good name, reputation and esteem in the estimation of those who read the media release and the wider community to whom it was published and the community, and lowered Mr Nkola in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally. 

The Office of the Premier was at all material times aware of the falsity of the allegations against Mr Nkola, alternatively should reasonably have been so aware. 

In publishing the media statement message, the Office of the Premier acted wrongfully and with the intent to injure Mr Nkola, or alternatively, with the intent to injure Mr Nkola’s reputation. As a result of the iniuria, alternatively the defamation, suffered as a result of the statements, Mr

Nkola suffered damage in the sum of R1,000 000.00, or alternatively as a result of the defamation

Mr Nkola has suffered damages in the sum of R1,000,000.00 and we are instructed to demand payment from you of this amount as we hereby do within 30 days of date of receiving this letter. 

Lastly we are instructed to place on record that if Mabuyane and the Provincial Government are indeed against any form of state capture and corruption, then you would have expected that the said Media Statement would reflect this and then they would in fact support the request to the

State President to initiate a thorough investigation of corruption in the Eastern Cape Province; and not put out a media statement to besmirch the good name and reputation name of Mr Nkola in his personal capacity, when the letter written to the Office of the State President was written in his

capacity of the Provincial convenor of the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum – which organisation seeks a corruption free Province that is run transparently and ethically, all of which would have been noted by the Office of the Premier if the time and trouble have been taken to assess the bonafides of the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum.

In the absence of a formal written apology to our Mr Nkola and the Eastern Cape Bonafides Forum for the blatant untruths contained in the said Media Statement, and in the event of your offices not desisting and in fact continuing with such treatment of our clients in the media, our

clients may be left with no alternative to apply to Court for declaratory for the Premier to be removed from office on the basis of being unfit and improper to hold such position in government.

Yours faithfully

JUSTIN POWERS

NEVILLE BORMAN & BOTHA

JUSTIN ANDREW POWERS B.BUS SC,
LLB Professional Assistants SAMANTHA WILHELMI BA
LLBCandidate Attorneys: Jamie-Lee Arries, Tasmyn Foster & Rachel Nyazenga
VAT Reg. No.: 484 012 5407

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