Businessman to sue former boss over 'defamation'

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Well-known Limpopo businessman Peter Mokgaphame is suing his former boss for several million rand for defaming him.

Mokgaphame was recently fired from the Palabora Foundation, a community development company in Phalaborwa operating under the auspices of Palaborwa Mining Company.

Mokgaphame is now suing the managing director of the foundation, Marc Garland Demmer, for defamation of character.

He claims that his former boss, while addressing the community of Selwane near Phalaborwa on November 29, accused him of being a criminal and a fraudster.

Demmer allegedly told the meeting that Mokgaphame was a criminal facing43 charges of fraud and several other undisclosed charges.

Demmer was speaking at a meeting of construction workers who were allegedly not paid for the pit toilets they had built.

It is alleged that Mokgaphame was the owner of Dzwa Development Company that built the toilets.

Sowetan is in possession of documents from Mokgaphame's attorneys addressed to Demmer and seeking answers as to why he allegedly called Mokgaphame a criminal.

Project steering committee member Makoma Ramoshaba confirmed Demmer's attendance at the meeting, saying Demmer was in the company of Alfred Ramoshaba who represented the Palaborwa Mining Company.

"He showed us a photo of Peter Mokgaphame and told us that the man in the picture was a criminal facing 43 counts of fraud and that he [Demmer] had fired him," Ramoshaba alleged yesterday.

Ramoshaba added that Demmer also undertook to take the matter up with the relevant authorities and that he would report back to them.

"He later asked me to drive with him, Tracey Swart and Alfred Ramoshaba to the site where the toilets were built to take photos," she said.

Contacted for comment, Demmer yesterday also confirmed his attendance at the meeting and said he was invited by the community and that he had been representing the Palabora Foundation.

Demmer, however, later declined to comment further saying.

"I cannot comment further as I have forwarded the matter to my lawyers," he said.

But Mokgaphame yesterday insisted that he was proceeding with the matter to court.