Floyd in the dock for calling journalist ‘drunkard’

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu has appeared in court for calling a Muslim journalist, who does not drink alcohol, a drunkard.

The ANC Youth League’s spokesperson Floyd Shivambu has appeared in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg after he called a Muslim journalist, who does not drink alcohol, a drunkard.

The Sowetan newspaper reported on Wednesday that Shivambu appeared on Tuesday on a defamation charge.

Saturday Star news editor Kashiefa Ajam filed a R350 000 claim against Shivambu, while her employer, Independent Newspapers, lodged a R300 000 claim for damage to its reputation.

In January last year, the Saturday Star carried a front-page story that said whisky supplier Chivas Regal had approached the youth league to become their supplier of choice.

Shivambu sent out a response saying: “The sick and confused Saturday Star’s journalist who wrote the story did not even call the ANC Youth League to verify the truthfulness of such a claim …

“If there is anyone who has a close partnership with the Chivas Regal, it is the drunkard journalist, Kashiefa Ajam, and the editorial team of the Saturday Star, who consume lots of alcohol and forget to contact the ANC Youth League when lies are spread about our organisation.”

On Tuesday, Shivambu’s lawyer, Dali Mpofu, said: “Journalists probably drink a lot of whisky — more than politicians.”

He argued before Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng that Ajam’s claim did not disclose a cause of action.

He said that it was undesirable for a journalist and a newspaper group to sue a private citizen in respect of matters arising from a news story, and also undesirable to sue citizens for defamation for statements made in the context of political debate.

Mpofu said Shivambu was not aware that Ajam was a practising Muslim and did not drink.

Judgment on the case was reserved by Mokgoatlheng.

Shivambu also has a pending case at the Johannesburg Equality Court after he allegedly called Independent Newspapers journalist Carien du Plessis, a “white bitch” in 2009. — Sapa

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