Former Democratic Alliance (DA) caucus chief whip Shaun August and four Cape Town city councillors who resigned last week have called on DA leader Mmusi Maimane to apologise “unequivocally” for allegedly defaming the five in statements he made.
On Friday, Maimane was alleged to have said that the resignation of the group was “not surprising” and that the five left because of a report by law firm Bowmans into allegations of corruption levelled against outgoing Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. The report recommends criminal charges be laid against her.
De Lille has hit back at Bowmans for producing a second report with a different conclusion.The Mail & Guardian has seen both reports and can confirm their legitimacy. The first is a 34-page investigation which deals solely with allegations against De Lille, while the second is a 1 998-page report delving into allegations against councillors and city officials, including De Lille.
The five — August, Siya Mamkeli, Suzette Little, Greg Bernardo and Thulani Stemele — resigned in an unprecedented show of support for De Lille. They have since accused the party of sidelining them and reserving decision-making for white DA members.
Maimane has until 6pm on Monday to issue a media statement and newsletter to apologise for “false and defamatory” statements made to the media and in his newsletter, Bokamoso, a lawyer’s letter issued by Van Rensburg & Kie to Maimane on Sunday stated.
— Shaun August (@ShaunAugust1) October 28, 2018
— Shaun August (@ShaunAugust1) October 27, 2018
Lawyers for the group say Maimane’s statements on Friday — in both the media and the Bokamoso newsletter — were “false and defamatory”.
None of the five council members were implicated in the Bowmans report, the lawyers say, adding that “there was no serious findings against our clients in the Bowmans report in fact no findings are made against them at all.”
On Sunday, August tweeted that the DA had had launched a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign against him and the other resigned council members.
Maimane, and the DA, have launched a dirty tricks campaign against us. This is surprising given that they said our leaving the party was of no consequence to them and that they wished us well. #MmusiMustApologise
Maimane will have to provide the lawyers with written proof of his apology. If he does not comply, the lawyers have been instructed to issue a summons against Maimane for defamation and to claim damages from him.