Tau, Mashaba ‘defamatory’ comments drama halted by court

Former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau has been interdicted from making further “defamatory” comments against current mayor Herman Mashaba by the Johannesburg high court on Friday.

In 2016, soon after Mashaba’s election as mayor, Tau is alleged to have verbally attacked Mashaba at the funeral of ANC councillor Nonhlanhla Mthembu, where he described Mashaba as sexist and anti-black.

“The City of Joburg is today led by a man who believes that the women who are senior executives prostituted themselves to be in the jobs they are in. He says that in fact for them for them to earn the positions they are in they had to sleep with the leadership,” Tau said at the time.

Tau reportedly added: “We have heard views from the Mayor Herman Mashaba who says that in fact if it were up to him he would not want to be black. To assert of a person with a black cultural allegiance that he denies his blackness, is to assert that he betrays the shared suffering of the members of that community. That is to assert of a person that he has turned his back on his own, and is a traitor.”

In his affidavit filed to the high court, Mashaba said it was ‘shameful’ and ironic to suggest he did not want to be considered black when he decided to name his cosmetics company ‘Black Like Me’. Mashaba approached the court for relief pending the outcome of a defamation lawsuit against Tau where he is claiming R2-million in damages. The defamation application is yet to be heard.

However, Tau defended his comments by saying they were in response to a statement by Mashaba in August 2016 where he said: “If the wrong people are in the wrong positions‚ they are going to be purged. The days when they allowed their girlfriends to run state institutions are over.”

Tau was ordered on Friday to pay the costs of the interdict. Mashaba says the money from the cost order will be donated to “an organisation supporting women in need as a result of abuse and other social ills.”

In the judgment, the court said Tau’s comments were defamatory and “stretched the boundaries of legitimate political criticism into character assassination”.

Mashaba said he sought relief from the court after giving Tau the opportunity to apologise and retract his comments, which Tau did not use.

“Parks Tau was given the opportunity to retract these disturbing comments and apologise. However, he refused to do so which resulted in me having to turn to the courts for relief. I would like to thank my legal team headed by Advocate Dali Mpofu for helping ensure justice is upheld,” Mashaba said.

READ MORE: Mashaba drags Parks Tau to court for defamation

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