The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has launched a public personal attack on a journalist who is suing its spokesperson for hate speech — in its first response since the case started in the Equality Court a week ago.
In an email to the entire media lists of the youth league and the ANC, Independent Newspaper reporter Carien du Plessis is described as a liar with “tendencies”, without saying what “tendencies” it meant.
ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu’s lawyers did not respond in court last Tuesday to charges that he allegedly called Du Plessis “stupid” and a “white bitch” in text messages exchanged between the two.
But late on Monday night, another ANCYL spokesperson, Magdalene Moonsamy, emailed the statement about Du Plessis to media houses.
“The ANCYL is aware that such allegations are lies and false and confirmed that at no stage has comrade Floyd Shivambu sent her such text messages. Those who know Carien du Plessis will be aware of her tendencies and that the allegations that she apportions to comrade Floyd are indeed false and will soon be exposed,” said Moonsamy, whose cellphone was switched off on Tuesday morning.
‘Agitation through the media’
The ANCYL said the case against Shivambu was “once again agitation through the media to spread lies against the leadership of the ANCYL”.
The statement was emailed shortly before the youth league sent another statement on a different matter, in which it also attacked the media, and called the press ombudsman “toothless” and “pathetically useless”.
Moonsamy, at the end of the statement about Du Plessis, adds: “We are aware that the case is sub judice and that facts will be presented to the Equality Court, and hence the ANCYL will not entertain the issue further until it [is] before the Equality Court.”
Du Plessis referred all queries to her lawyer, who was not immediately available for comment.
The Equality Court last week postponed the matter, setting April 13 as the date for Shivambu’s lawyers to file papers in response to the allegations.
Shivambu’s attorney, Andries Nkome, said he had not received all the pages of the documents.
Shivambu was served with the papers on February 8, but by last Tuesday his legal team had not replied to the allegations.
Magistrate Oriel Vele said Shivambu’s attorneys had not been “prudent” in dealing with the matter, but that their “sins” should not be visited on their client.
“It will be in the interests of justice to allow him [Shivambu] a voice on the matter,” Vele said.
The court expressed “utter disappointment” in the conduct of the respondent and/or his attorney.
“People should learn to treat court proceedings with the respect they deserve,” Vele said. He awarded punitive costs to Du Plessis for Tuesday’s court appearance.
Shivambu was present in court.
The complaint dates back to May 18 2010.
Du Plessis alleged that in an SMS exchange between herself and Shivambu, he wrote: “You must learn to respect people. I don’t comment on YCL [Young Communist League] issues and please stop being stupid.”
He also allegedly wrote: “I wouldn’t want to earn respect from white bitches … so dream on.”
Du Plessis wants an order declaring that the labels allegedly applied to her by Shivambu constituted hate speech, an order requiring him to issue an unconditional written apology, payment of R100 000 damages and the costs of the suit. — Sapa