TAC allegations defamatory, says Qunta lawyer

Allegations that South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board deputy chairperson Christine Qunta is involved in a company selling medicines purported to cure HIV/Aids were “irresponsible and defamatory”, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Athol Gordon, from Bowman Gilfillan attorneys, was responding to a threat by Zachie Achmat of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) to take court action if Qunta was officially reappointed to the SABC board.

“Our client regards the unsubstantiated allegations made concerning her by Mr Achmat of the TAC as irresponsible and defamatory,” Gordon said.

He said Qunta would not conduct a debate in the media regarding allegations that lacked a factual basis.

“It is apparent that this is a calculated attack on our client’s reputation by the TAC and appropriate legal action is being considered,” he said.

On Wednesday, Achmat said that if President Thabo Mbeki officially re-appointed Qunta to the board, the TAC would definitely take the matter to court.

Qunta is one of 12 candidates selected by the National Assembly’s communication committee to sit on the SABC board. Mbeki is yet to officially appoint the selected candidates.

Achmat said that Qunta was one of the directors of Comforter’s Healing Gift, a company involved in the registration and patenting of traditional herbs currently being tested for HIV cure properties.

“There is prima facie evidence that ... Qunta, a practising attorney, is an investor and director in a company that profiteers from selling untested and unregistered cures and treatments for Aids,” Achmat said.—Sapa

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