African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) spokesperson Floyd Shivambu can’t remember sending insulting cellphone text messages to Independent Newspapers journalist Carien Du Plessis, according to an affidavit his lawyers filed with the Equality Court.
“I do not have records, nor recollection of me saying that to her under whatever circumstances either through text message or verbal pronouncements,” Shivambu said in the affidavit filed on April 13.
Shivambu is accused of hate speech for allegedly calling du Plessis “stupid” and a “white bitch” in text messages.
He further says “bitch” is not part of his vocabulary.
“I know I did not send the text message using those references because some of the words she alleges were sent from my phone are not part of my vocabulary, in particular the word ‘bitch’.”
In the affidavit Shivambu describes his relationship with Du Plessis by saying he knew her through his work as youth league spokesperson.
He said he discovered animosity between the two of them when Du Plessis “started not talking to me about anything, including work related issues”.
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.”
The ANCYL later launched a public, personal attack on Du Plessis.
In an email sent to the youth league’s and African National Congress’s media lists, Du Plessis was described as a liar with “tendencies”, without mention of what “tendencies” meant.
Youth league 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 Comrade Floyd are indeed false and will soon be exposed,” she wrote.
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.”
Du Plessis referred all queries to her lawyer, Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, who said her client declined to comment on the matter.
“My client prefers not to comment on the content of the media statement issued by the youth league or the appropriateness of issuing such a statement.
“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.”
Du Plessis wants an order declaring that the labels allegedly applied to her by Shivambu constitute hate speech, an order requiring him to issue an unconditional written apology, payment of R100 000 damages and the costs of the suit. — Sapa