Carl Niehaus presses ahead with R10m defamation lawsuit against Fikile Mbalula
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Durban - Suspended senior Luthuli House employee and senior ANC member Carl Niehaus is pressing ahead with his R10 million lawsuit against Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.
On Tuesday Niehaus’s lawyers, Mabuza Attorneys in Johannesburg served Mbalula’s lawyer with the summons to file their intention to defend the matter when it is brought and argued in court.
That was after Mbalula refused to pay the sum of R10 million when Niehaus’s lawyers first made the demand for damages.
The bone of contention was an interview Mbalula conducted with the BBC’s Hard Talk television programme on July 22, shortly after the dramatic week of unrest and looting.
Allegedly, Mbalula told the host of the programme that one of the known instigators of the unrest which the government has since labelled “a failed insurrection”, was Niehaus.
Niehaus took offence, arguing that Mbalula’s statement painted him as “a criminal who engaged in criminal acts of insurrection, treason, and sedition to overthrow the democratically elected government of the Republic of South Africa”.
In the summons, Niehaus further argues that Mbalula has damaged his reputation and dignity, and he has suffered damages to the amount of R10 million.
“The plaintiff (Niehaus) prays for an order and judgment against the defendant, as set out hereunder: 1. Payment of damages in the sum of R10 million; 2. Interest at the prescribed rate from the date of judgment to the date of payment; 3. Costs of suit; and 4. Further and/or alternative relief,” reads the summons.
When Independent Media contacted Mbalula on Wednesday evening to find out whether he has received the summons and whether he will defend the suit as previously stated, he produced a letter sent to Niehaus and his lawyers on July 23 responding to the first letter of demand.
In it, Mbalula said Niehaus is a self-confessed fraudster who has no reputation to be tarnished at all.
“Carl Niehaus is a self-confessed fraudster and perpetual mishandler and abuser of his personal finances which has repeatedly landed him in disrepute. Accordingly, the allegations in your letter that he ... is not a criminal, does not engage in criminality... and that he promotes and maintains high standards of discipline and professional integrity and the suggestion that he is a person of good standing and reputation, are patently untrue,” reads part of the letter.
Mbalula later contested that the summons had no court stamp and as such, he can’t respond to media questions about it.
However, Niehaus said a case number would be allocated once the sheriff had delivered the summons to Mbalula.