AfriForum vs Panyaza Lesufi: here is what you need to know

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said AfriForum's defamation suit is 'nothing but intimidation and an attempt to silence me'. File photo
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said AfriForum's defamation suit is 'nothing but intimidation and an attempt to silence me'. File photo
Image: VATHISWA RUSELO

AfriForum has filed a defamation suit against Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

This comes after Lesufi claimed during a televised interview last year that the lobby group was trying to “assassinate” him.

Here is what you need to know.

The allegations

Last year, during a departmental press conference about school placements for 2020, Lesufi accused the lobby group of trying to assassinate him.

He also alleged his family was targeted by the group.

 At the time that AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel denied the allegations, and said the group would be going for Lesufi's “bank account by suing him for defamation”.

The law suit 

Over the weekend, Kriel said the group was demanding an unconditional apology from Lesufi for his accusation, and he should “bear the legal costs of the matter”.

In a statement, Kriel said it was time Lesufi to “be held accountable for his polarising statements and outrageous lies”.

“Lesufi tried to cover up his vendetta against Afrikaans schools by spreading lies that he supposedly would be the target of assassination attempts,” said Kriel.

The lobby group said Lesufi has until “the middle of July” to decided if he is going to oppose AfriForum’s summons.

Lesufi hits back

Lesufi hit back at the legal action against him. On Twitter, he linked the suit to his recent remarks about Orania, an exclusively Afrikaner town in the Northern Cape.

However, Kriel denied this, saying “this is yet another lie told by Lesufi”.

“My sin was to speak against Orania. Like other previous attempts, this one will also fail. I hate racism with a passion, but I am addicted to non-racialism,” said Lesufi.

According to an SABC report, Lesufi said AfriForum was trying to silence him over his views.

He said: “What they are doing is nothing but intimidation and an attempt to silence me. I will not allow that. We have to find a way to allow the courts to preside over this matter.

“Obviously, they won’t directly say they are taking me to court on the issue of Orania, but they have ramped up their fight against me immediately after I  spoke openly about Orania.

"Orania does not belong to a new SA. We don’t want a country within a country. You can’t have a country where there is a no-go area.”


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