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Ekurhuleni metro's refusal to say sorry to a councillor has led to a bill of more than R1 million, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
This week, the high court in Johannesburg ordered the metro to pay the legal costs of councillor Izak Berg after a five-year legal battle, the paper said.
According to the report, the saga begun in 2008 when Berg demanded a written apology after the then municipal manager, Patrick Flusk, told city officials in a meeting that Berg was corrupt and would be jailed,
Flusk and the municipality refused to apologise, leading to Berg winning R50,000 in damages after going to court.
The Sunday paper reported that the metro appealed the judgment but the move blew up in their faces. Now the municipality has to foot the bill for Berg's legal costs which are just more than R500 000, the R50 000 in damages and its own legal cost of more than R500 000.
“We have taken note of the court's ruling on this matter and are currently studying the judgment so as to determine a way forward,” Ekurhuleni spokesman Sam Modiba was quoted saying.
In the 22-page judgment, the high court ruled that “the defendants failed to offer an apology for the first defendant's conduct but persisted in a denial of uttering the defamatory word”. - Sapa