Manyi loses ap­pli­ca­tion to re­move ‘con­flicted’ judge

SA’s rich­est woman su­ing him for li­bel

Sowetan - - News - By Nom­ahlubi Jor­daan

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.

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