/ 6 April 2011

Reporter stands by complaint against Shivambu

The lawyer for Independent Newspapers journalist Carien du Plessis has declined to comment on a public and personal attack launched against her client by the ANC Youth League.

“My client prefers not to comment on the content of the media statement issued by the ANCYL or the appropriateness of issuing such a statement,” lawyer Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti told the South African Press Association in an email.

“She stands by her complaint and looks forward to having the merits of the case decided in the appropriate forum, which is the Equality Court.”

In an email sent to the entire media lists of the youth league and the African National Congress, the ANCYL called Du Plessis a liar with “tendencies”, without saying what “tendencies” it meant.

This was the ANCYL’s first response to a court case that started in the Equality Court last Tuesday in which its spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, is accused of hate speech for allegedly calling her “stupid” and a “white bitch” in SMSes.

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 Cde 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 Cde Floyd are indeed false and will soon be exposed,” said Moonsamy.

The ANCYL said the case against Shivambu was “once again agitation through the media to spread lies against the leadership of the ANCYL”.

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.”

The court last week postponed the matter, setting April 13 as the date for Shivambu’s lawyers to file papers in response 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.

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