Moeletsi Mbeki demands R20m from M&G for ‘defamatory’ stories

In a letter sent from his lawyers on Friday, Mbeki claimed that two articles written by senior Mail & Guardian politics reporter Mmamaledi Mataboge contained content that was "wrongful and defamatory".

Mbeki also intended to lay a charge against Mataboge and M&G editor-in-chief Nic Dawes at the press ombudsman because he "has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages".

"We are surprised and disappointed by Mr Mbeki's approach to this matter and will of course resist his absurd claim," said Dawes on Friday night.

Mbeki claimed that Mataboge's “Surveys sparks feud at Mbeki forum”, published in the M&G on January 25, and “War of words follows Mbeki spat”, published on February 1, contained defamatory statements.

According to the letter the first story contained the following defaming remarks:

  • Statements that Mbeki "is accused by Prince Mashele of assisting the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions [Cosatu] to suppress the release of a study to protect 'what appears to be a dirty BEE deal with Numsa [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa]'."
  • That "the release of the [survey's] results was postponed just before the ANC’s national conference in Mangaung after Cosatu told researchers it was “uncomfortable” about it".
  • That "the study found that Cosatu shop stewards wanted the Union Federation to form a workers’ party, had lost confidence in the South African Communist Party and would like to see the country’s mines nationalised".
  • That "the study found that the majority of the more than 2 000 shop stewards surveyed did not support Jacob Zuma’s re-election as ANC president, preferring instead his former deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe".
  • That Mbeki "apparently “gave in to Cosatu’s pressure because he feared that failing to do that would jeopardise a business deal he is persuing with … Numsa, a powerful Cosatu affiliate".
  • That Mbeki "approached Numsa Investment Company to get Numsa to partner with him and acquire a stake in Scaw Metals from the Industrial Development Corporation." 
  • That Mbeki "purposefully suppressed the survey" and that he "suspended Prince Mashele “apparently to remove him from the process while a solution was sought to make Cosatu happy” ".

In "War of Words follows Mbeki spat", Mbeki said the statements "the research report showed that shop floor officials did not support the re-election of Jacob Zuma as party president" and "Mashele was suspended because he threatened to publicise the findings of the report" were defamatory.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday