Businessman Mzwanele Manyi File picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Pretoria - Former Cabinet spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi is due to receive R55 000 in damages after he won his defamation lawsuit against #FeesMustFall activist Mcebo Dlamini.

Dlamini apparently called Manyi a “lame, lazy, horny stinky old donkey” on a group WhatsApp message.

Judge Moses Mavundla found that these words were defamatory and he awarded Manyi R50 000 in damages for this.

Dlamini also later in one of the WhatsApp messages told Manyi “you deserve to be necklaced”. The court also accepted that this threat was hurtful towards Many and in this regard, the judge awarded him R5 000 in damages.

Manyi earlier turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, during which he claimed a total of R5 million in damages against Dlamini, arising from the messages on social media.

Dlamini denied in media reports that he was the author of these words and he also indicated in court papers that he was going to oppose the civil claim. In spite of being put on terms to deliver his defence, Dlamini never responded by placing his version before the court.

According to Manyi’s court papers, he and Dlamini were part of the “Open Politics” WhatsApp group. On July 2017 the group discussed the theme “What is regime change”. Manyi said he voiced his opinion, to which Dlamini responded by making defamatory remarks, followed later by a threat.

According to Manyi, these remarks were widely circulated on numerous other WhatsApp groups as well.

Judge Mavundla remarked that once a plaintiff (Manyi in this case) has established publication of the defamatory statement, it was up to the defendant (Dlamini) to raise a defence.

“The defendant, in this case, chose not to come to lock horns with the plaintiff although he was served with the invitation to do so,” the judge said.

The judge said the words complained of are of a serious and scandalous nature. “The plaintiff is a reputable man of note and a prominent public political figure who enjoys extensive public attention,” he concluded.

* Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.

[email protected]

Pretoria News