Defamation lawsuit against UDM leader Bantu Holomisa dismissed with costs

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. File photo
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. File photo
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The defamation lawsuit filed against UDM leader Bantu Holomisa over a tweet about Eastern Cape transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe has been dismissed by the Grahamstown High Court on Tuesday.

However, after the judgment, Holomisa still tweeted that he remains unfazed in his view that the MEC should be fired from the provincial office. The tweet in question was tweeted by Holomisa on April 16. In the tweet, the UDM leader accused Tikana-Gxothiwe of owning Mica Lodge in East London which quarantined Covid-19 patients and of corruption.

It was later discovered that the lodge belonged to her daughter Kwakhanya Tikana. Immedietly after the judgement was passed, Holomisa tweeted: “Gxothiwe case against me dismissed with costs. I said uGxothiwe makagxothwe ndisatsho nangoku.”

Which translates to, "I said Gxothiwe must be fired and still say so."

Judge GH Bloem dismissed the defamation suit against Holomisa with costs, meaning Tikana- Gxothiwe, who applied for the suit against Holomisa will be liable for the UDM leader's legal costs. In the judgment papers which Holomisa shared with Sowetan, judge Bloem said: “The applicant failed to show that the assumed defamatory statement in the tweet reffered to her. The application must be dismissed for that reason alone."

Amongst other reasons that judge Bloem gave to justify the judgment was that the tweet was in the public’s interest and was fair comment. Last month, Tikana-Gxothiwe appeared to be confused as to whether she should continue with filing the suit against Holomisa or not as she told Sowetan that the suit was on, although her lawyer sent an email to the UDM leader saying the case was with withdrawn due to “new developments”.

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