Kebby Maphatsoe loses defamation case brought by ex-MK man
Deputy defence minister Kebby Maphatsoe and the ANC’s parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu have defamed a politician who broke away from the ruling party to form his own movement.
Tshidiso Mokhoanatse‚ also known as Alex Mashinini when he was in uMkhonto we Sizwe‚ won his case in the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday.
In 2013‚ Mokhoanatse and other ex-members of MK resigned from the African National Congress and formed a political party called South Africa First (SAF). In statements issued by both Maphatsoe and Mthembu in the aftermath of the formation of SAF‚ personal remarks were made about Mokhoanatse. SAF was later changed to Agency for New Agenda (ANA).
Judge Kathy Satchwell found that Mokhoanatse had been defamed by both men.
In her judgment‚ referring to the statements made by Maphatsoe‚ who is also chairman of the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA)‚ she noted he did not have first-hand knowledge of the assertions he had made about Mokhoanatse.
Furthermore‚ she stated‚ “This is not part of robust political debate“.
“(Maphatsoe) has far overstepped the mark. He has attempted character assassination of (Mokhoanatse) merely because (Mokhoanatse) dared to follow a different path.”
Mthembu‚ formerly ANC national spokesman‚ had also made comments that were based on hearsay and were unlawful and defamatory. However‚ she noted there was no indication his comments had been planned‚ unlike Maphatsoe‚ and that this could be considered when determining potential damages.
Satchwell ordered that the case now be moved to trial where arguments will be heard to determine damages.
Mokhoanatse had initially sued for R10 million and R5 million against Maphatsoe and Mthembu respectively‚ as well as a public apology.