Manyi loses application to remove ‘conflicted’ judge
SA’s richest woman suing him for libel
Acting Judge Fiona Dippenaar has refused to recuse herself in the defamation case brought against former government spin doctor Mzwanele Manyi’ by billionaire entrepreneur Magdalena Wierzycka.
Manyi, pictured, had asked Dippenaar to recuse herself from the case because she comes from the same group of chambers as Wierzycka’s counsel‚ David Unterhalter SC.
In her judgment handed down yesterday‚ Dippenaar said Manyi’s perspective that she may be biased in Wierzycka’s favour because her counsel comes from the same group of chambers as Dippenaar was “misconceived”.
“An informed and objective person would be aware of the independent and rival nature of an advocate’s practice. He or she would be aware that the bar assists the bench by its senior members offering their services to assist with acting appointments.
“In doing so‚ it happens on a regular basis that members of the same group appear as representatives of one or more of the parties and acting judge respectively‚” Dippenaar said.
She ordered Manyi, now a media owner, to pay the costs of the high court application.
Wierzycka‚ the outspoken chief executive of Sygnia Asset Management and SA’s wealthiest woman‚ has filed an urgent application in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg seeking an order to declare statements Manyi made against her on Twitter and Facebook – including that she was guilty of economic “terrorism” – defamatory. Wierzycka’s legal counsel Advocate Lwandile Sisilana argued in the South Gauteng High Court yesterday that her defamation application against Manyi was urgent as her reputation and safety were at stake.