Estate agency board boss disputes Western Cape High Court ruling
Cape Town - Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) chief executive Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi has said that Western Cape High Court Judge Derek Wille erred in his ruling on the defamation suit between her and DA MP Emma Powell over a tweet.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi sued for defamation after a 2019 tweet by Powell which said: “Today, a meeting between EAAB management and Nehawu shop stewards was terminated when increasingly rogue CEO Mohlala-Mulaudzi’s husband/partner allegedly walked on to the state entity’s premises and produced a firearm.”
In a ruling delivered on March 26, Judge Wille gave Mohlala-Mulaudzi 10 days to hand over documents requested by Powell.
The documents are from complaints made about Mohlala-Mulaudzi and court papers in another defamation action she has brought against fellow EAAB board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw.
In 2019, Mohlala-Mulaudzi sued Kula-Ameyaw for R1.5 million after she wrote to Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu alleging that Mohlala-Mulaudzi promised EAAB board members R2m each from a R50m transformation fund.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi denies the allegations.
The papers requested also include the minutes of every meeting of the EAAB board of directors since Mohlala-Mulaudzi’s appointment as chief executive.
Also on the list are all written complaints from EAAB directors, employees and others affiliated with the board of directors relating to the Mohlala-Mulaudzi’s performance or conduct as chief executive.
Judge Wille said failure to make the documents available in the time given would give Powell the right to apply for the dismissal of Mohlala-Mulaudzi's defamation claim.
Responding to the ruling, Mohlala-Mulaudzi said: “Powell’s public assertion, as a respected MP, is blatantly false and caused immense damage to my reputation. It is fair to conclude that Ms Powell’s actions were malicious and carried the express purpose of defaming my good name.
“My legal team is of the opinion that Judge Wille erred in ordering that I must submit documents for inspection which include the minutes of every meeting of the board of directors of the EAAB among others. My legal team will therefore appeal this order and continue to press ahead with the defamation suit.”
Powell claims that the documents sought are relevant to her defence.
“It is necessary to understand that there was a considerable amount of coverage, about Mohlala-Mulaudzi’s tenure as the CEO of the EAAB, which was allegedly beset with controversy, discord and mismanagement.”
According to Powell, some of this coverage included a report that Mohlala-Mulaudzi was receiving board fees for sitting on the board of the SABC while she was a paid employee of the government, which meant that in effect she was illegally receiving two salaries from two organs of state.