Ex-ma­yor ta­kes KRA to e­qua­li­ty court

Bouw-S­pies claims R100 000 for un­fair dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on, ha­te speech and ha­ras­sment

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - Ya­seen Gaf­far

For­mer Knys­na ma­yor E­le­a­no­re Bou­wS­pies has fi­led a com­plaint in the Knys­na E­qua­li­ty Court a­gainst the Knys­na Ra­te­pay­ers' As­so­ci­a­ti­on (KRA) and its Fa­ce­book pa­ge for un­fair dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on, ha­te speech and ha­ras­sment.

Bouw-S­pies is see­king re­lief in the form of a pay­ment of R100 000, an a­po­lo­gy and a pro­hi­bi­ti­on a­gainst the or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on from pu­blis­hing any de­fa­ma­to­ry, dis­cri­mi­na­to­ry sta­te­ments or pic­tu­res, as well as an in­structi­on to re­mo­ve ex­is­ting of­fen­si­ve ma­te­ri­al.

In an af­fi­da­vit, Bouw-S­pies claims the KRA has "rui­ned her li­fe" and that her li­fe is now in dan­ger. She sta­tes she has been sub­jected to a bar­ra­ge of de­fa­ma­to­ry com­ments and pos­ts by the KRA and their fol­lo­wers, both le­a­ding up to and af­ter her being unse­a­ted as ma­yor.

'Per­so­nal­ly de­gra­ded'

“I ha­ve been o­pen­ly la­bel­led as cor­rupt, u­se­less, dis­ho­nest and accu­sed of ma­l­ad­mi­nis­te­ring (sic) the town. I ha­ve been in­sul­ted, per­so­nal­ly de­gra­ded by mem­bers and sup­por­ters of the Knys­na Ra­te­pay­ers on their Fa­ce­book pa­ge and that of Knys­na Po­li­ti­cs Ex­po­sed (KPE), who share the sa­me ad­mi­nis­tra­tors,” claims Bouw-S­pies.

The com­plaint, fi­led on 13 Au­gust, in­clu­des ex­cerpts from the two Fa­ce­book pa­ges, which the KRA says Bouw-S­pies has in­dis­cri­mi­na­te­ly mixed, and that alt­hough it finds the KPE pa­ge of­ten pro­vi­des va­lu­a­ble and in­for­ma­ti­ve com­ment and in­sig­hts, the KRA com­mit­tee has no con­t­rol o­ver it.

The KRA sta­ted that in in­clu­ding tho­se ex­cerpts, the for­mer ma­yor is er­ro­ne­ous­ly ma­king un­war­ran­ted and unsup­por­ta­ble as­sump­ti­ons.

'Li­fe rui­ned'

“My li­fe has been rui­ned as a re­sult of the fact that I ha­ve been sub­jected to this in­si­di­ous and un­foun­ded cam­paign of fal­se in­for­ma­ti­on. The de­trac­tors, who are all sup­por­ters of the Knys­na Ra­te­pay­ers, ha­ve go­ne so far as to in­si­nu­a­te that I was in­vol­ved in a mur­der and ha­ve in fact been ar­res­ted. I ha­ve af­fi­da­vits to pro­ve this and shall fur­nish sa­me to the court. My li­fe is in dan­ger and my hus­band and child­ren are being tar­ge­ted. I ha­ve no re­cour­se ot­her than to re­sort to this ho­nou­ra­ble court to obtain re­lief,” claims Bouw-S­pies in the af­fi­da­vit. “Their at­ti­tu­de has re­sul­ted in an upswel­ling of ha­tred and pe­op­le fee­ling free to ma­ke fun of me, see the me­mes.”

The KRA de­nies the al­le­ga­ti­ons, cal­ling Bouw-S­pies' claims "gra­tui­tous, ba­se­less and w­hol­ly wit­hout me­rit". “As to her mo­re mad­cap, de­fa­ma­to­ry claims: that we ha­ve accu­sed her of mur­der and of ha­ving been ar­res­ted, that we ha­ve rui­ned her li­fe and that her li­fe is in dan­ger – a­gain, she sup­plies no e­vi­den­ce of any of the­se, for the sim­ple re­a­son that the­re isn’t any.”

'C­ri­ti­cis­ms jus­ti­fied'

It sta­tes that e­very cri­ti­cism it ma­kes is so­le­ly mo­ti­va­ted by its de­si­re to a­chie­ve good, cle­an go­ver­nan­ce and ef­fecti­ve ser­vi­ce de­li­very, and to keep re­si­dents in­for­med of w­hat coun­cil and the ad­mi­nis­tra­ti­on are doing. It says it is look­ing for­ward to seeing the af­fi­da­vits that in­si­nu­a­te her in­vol­vement in a mur­der and that "per­ju­ry is a cri­mi­nal of­fen­ce".

“Alt­hough we ha­ve been cri­ti­cal of a num­ber of t­hings that she and her for­mer mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger Ka­ma­la­sen C­het­ty ha­ve do­ne, all of our c­ri­ti­cis­ms are jus­ti­fied and con­sti­tu­te fair com­ment. No­ne of tho­se c­ri­ti­cis­ms con­sti­tu­tes un­fair dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on,” re­ads the sta­te­ment from the KRA.

'She should know bet­ter'

“As an ex­pe­rien­ced po­li­ti­ci­an and coun­cil­lor, Bouw-S­pies should know bet­ter than to ma­ke wild, unsup­por­ted claims a­gainst a non­pro­fit or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on that re­pre­sents ma­ny of her con­sti­tu­ents, or to seek da­ma­ges from them for i­ma­gi­ned of­fen­ces. Playing a pho­ney ra­ce card in an ef­fort to frus­tra­te cri­ti­cism, or for per­so­nal gain, is un­worthy of her or any e­lected of­fi­ci­al. Re­si­dents ha­ve a rig­ht to ask que­s­ti­ons, cri­ti­ci­se, and hold their e­lected of­fi­ci­als to ac­count,” re­ads the sta­te­ment.

Bouw-S­pies de­cli­ned to com­ment on the mat­ter, sta­ting it is sub ju­di­ce.

“I ha­ve no in­ten­ti­on of al­lo­wing a le­gal mat­ter I am brin­ging in my pri­va­te ca­pa­ci­ty to be tried in the me­dia. This mat­ter will ser­ve be­fo­re the courts in due cour­se and the ma­gi­stra­te will de­ci­de w­het­her the pro­cee­dings will be o­pen to the pu­blic or in ca­me­ra,” she said.

The KRA will ha­ve to now for­mal­ly re­spond to the af­fi­da­vit be­fo­re the court de­ci­des w­het­her to he­ar the ca­se or re­fer it for me­di­a­ti­on.

E­le­a­no­re Bouw-S­pies

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.