Mathole Motshekga to sue Modjadji royal family for R10m
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Pretoria - ANC MP Mathole Motshekga is planning to institute a R10 million defamation lawsuit against the Modjadji royal family, according to his attorney and party veteran Matthews Phosa.
This comes after the regent of the Modjadji monarchy, Prince Mpapatla Modjadji, and spokesperson of the Modjadji Royal Council Phetole Mampeule told the media on Monday that Motshekga and his wife, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, were peddling lies and sowing divisions within the kingdom for their own benefit.
Motshekga, a former adviser to the royal family, raised and educated Princess Masalanabo Modjadji, who was tipped to be Queen Modjadji VII when she reached the legal age of 18 in two years.
Last week, the royal council decided to announce her older brother Prince Lukuleka as heir to the throne. The two families have been involved in a lengthy battle over the Princess’s future.
At the press briefing, Prince Mpapatla said: “Our kingdom has always been under attack by our own adversaries, and by their capturing of Princess Masalanabo, they thought they had the kingdom on a silver platter.
“Dr Mathole Motshekga approached me and said he would help us bring Masalanabo back to the Royal House. It was the greatest news we always wanted to hear.
“We went to meet Dr Motshekga at Randburg Magistrate’s Court, expecting that he will let Masalanabo go home with us, but instead, he applied for foster care in his favour, which was granted on condition that he should reintegrate Masalanabo with her family during school holidays.
“But he never brought Masalanabo home to spend holidays with her brother Lekukela, violating the same court order ruling in his favour.
“Instead, Dr Motshekga took Masalanabo to Julia Mabale née Mokoto. He even wrote in one of his letters that Julia Mabale née Mokoto is the right person to teach Masalanabo royal issues. Julia Mabale née Mokoto and her brothers are the aforementioned group that once went to the Nhlapho Commission claiming that the Modjadji dynasty belonged to them in 2006. Their case was dismissed by the Tolo Commission.”
In the letter of demand, dated May 18, 2021, addressed to Prince Mpapatla and Mampaule, Phosa claims the statements made at the briefing were defamatory to Motshekga and his wife.
It said in part: “The two made statements about Motshekga and his wife to various parties, including falsely and wrongly claiming that they were guilty of kidnapping among other crimes and immoral and/or unethical acts (sic).”
It continued: “The exclusive nature of the publication of your statement about our client and his wife makes it clear your statement and your purposive manner in which you assured their publication and distribution leaves no other reasonable conclusion that they are intended to impugn the reputation of our client and his wife and are delivered as an assault on his dignity and that of his wife.
“The statements are not only legally defamatory, they are clearly false, untruthful and malicious. We demand a public apology – a retraction and apology in writing and verbally at a press conference within three days from Tuesday, failing which, we will institute a Cecil claim.”
In a responding letter to the letter of demand, Prince Mpapatla, through his attorney, Bethuel Monakisi, rejected the allegations.
His letter said in part: “Our clients never averred any defamatory statements to either your client or his wife. In fact, your client’s allegations are not only unfounded but also vexatious in all respects.
“In an event your client still persists with a Cecil action, you are at liberty to proceed as instructed so that the issues can be properly ventilated by a competent court of law.”
Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Phosa said they would continue with the issuing of summons, and disputed the legitimacy of Prince Mpapatla’s regency.
“We will be suing them for R10 million each. With due respect, the regent is being less than frank. In due course, he will face the harsh facts.
“We are going to challenge the so-called regent because, in terms of the law, he could only be a regent for five years and that needed to have been renewed. In this case, he has been regent for more than 10 years without it being renewed. We will therefore also set aside his so-called regent,” he said.
Monakisi referred to what was said in his response letter: “I have not yet received instructions to speak to the public. But you can read the response to Motshekga.”
Limpopo Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Basikopo Makamu said: “The council must go on review every five years when the regent’s term ends. It is the principle that the council go on review. As long as they do that then there should be no problem.”