Lungisa sued for R500,000

Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor takes him on over ‘de­grad­ing’ tweets

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Michael Kim­ber­ley and Siyam­tanda Capa kim­ber­[email protected]­soblack­

Faced with a R500,000 defamation law­suit af­ter call­ing Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Le­setja Kganyago an “ex­cep­tional k **** r” on Twit­ter, an un­apolo­getic Andile Lungisa has vowed to chal­lenge it and “de­fend the rev­o­lu­tion at all costs”.

The ANC coun­cil­lor also hit back at Kganyago, say­ing he had cor­rectly char­ac­terised the banker in his tweets.

Kganyago filed court pa­pers in the Port El­iz­a­beth High Court last week af­ter Lungisa, a Nel­son Man­dela Bay coun­cil­lor, took to Twit­ter twice in June call­ing the gov­er­nor a lackey for racists.

Speak­ing to The Her­ald on Tues­day, Lungisa said the law­suit would be de­fended.

“We are go­ing to chal­lenge this. There is no other way.

“The rev­o­lu­tion must be de­fended at all costs,” he said.

Lungisa then went back on to Twit­ter, post­ing an im­age of the court pa­pers.

Along with the im­age, he tweeted: “We have en­tered the realm of the ab­surd.

“The gov­er­nor of the Re­serve Bank is su­ing me for R500k be­cause I cor­rectly char­ac­terised him and his ilk as use­ful id­iots of set­tler capital.”

The law­suit stems from two tweets on June 6 by Lungisa.

In the first, he tweeted: “Le­setja Kganyago, a du­ti­ful ser­vant of our racist classes su­perieure, is an ar­dent dis­ci­ple of the ne­olib­eral dystopia that has con­demned mil­lions of African peo­ple to a des­o­late ex­is­tence.”

A sec­ond tweet stated: “He, like many of his ilk, imag­ines that prox­im­ity to the cul­tur­ally fetid but eco­nom­i­cally Neoset­tler, cou­pled with a few Lat­tes makes him an ex­cep­tional k **** r.”

Ac­cord­ing to the court pa­pers served on Lungisa, Kganyago felt “hurt, in­sulted and de­graded” by the tweets.

He is seek­ing R500,000 in dam­ages plus in­ter­est, a re­trac­tion of the tweets, an apol­ogy, the costs of the law­suit and an or­der that Lungisa never makes such state­ments again.

At the time of the tweets, Kganyago, in an in­ter­view pub­lished by an on­line pub­li­ca­tion on June 6, char­ac­terised the con­tin­u­ing at­tacks on the Re­serve Bank as the ar­rival of the “bar­bar­ians at the gate of SARB”.

He had also dis­missed quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing as an op­tion to re­vive the econ­omy af­ter ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule an­nounced that a task team would be put to­gether to explore the idea.

Quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing was used to help the US deal with the effects of the 2008 global financial cri­sis.

The rand took a beat­ing af­ter Ma­gashule’s an­nounce­ment.

Kganyago said con­di­tions did not ex­ist in SA for mea­sures such as quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing.

There have been strong calls within ANC ranks for the Re­serve Bank to be na­tion­alised.

Lungisa said he was merely re­spond­ing to the insults dished out by Kganyago.

“Le­setja called us bar­bar­ians at the gate but to­day he takes refuge in our [courts] when we re­turn insults with fact.

“I have sim­ply re­turned insults with facts,” Lungisa said.

He said the use of “k **** r” did not qual­ify as racism.

“Log­i­cally, a black per­son can’t be racist.

“This does not qual­ify to be the K-word, it can’t be in that cat­e­gory,” Lungisa said.

He tweeted later: “Need­less to say, I will not be pay­ing.

“This is an ex­tor­tion racket de­signed to si­lence those that op­pose the marginal­i­sa­tion of our so­ci­ety by an ar­ro­gant set­tler mi­nor­ity.

“Le­setje [Le­setja] and Jam­nan­das [Jam­nadas] of this world be­lieve that free­dom of speech is for the set­tlers and their er­rand boys.”

Jam­nadas is the mid­dle name of pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han.

The court pa­pers state that the two tweets were widely read be­cause Lungisa had more than 20,000 fol­low­ers.

“The pub­li­ca­tion of the first and sec­ond state­ments was wrong­ful and the state­ments per se defam­a­tory of [Kganyago],” the pa­pers read.

Out­lin­ing the rea­son­ing for the dam­ages, the claim said the tweets in­tended to mean that:

● Kganyago was a lackey for racist peo­ple;

● He did the bid­ding for racist peo­ple;

● Kganyago be­lit­tled him­self to be ac­cepted by racist and su­prem­a­cist peo­ple; and

● He did not care about the poor liv­ing con­di­tions of mil­lions of black peo­ple.

The tweets were read by peo­ple out­side of South Africa, with nu­mer­ous com­ments made by Lungisa’s fol­low­ers, ac­cord­ing to the claim.

“Notwith­stand­ing de­mand, [Lungisa] has failed to un­con­di­tion­ally and ir­re­vo­ca­bly with­draw his state­ments, is­sue a writ­ten apol­ogy to [Kganyago] on Twit­ter and any other so­cial me­dia plat­form for his con­duct.

“As a re­sult of the in­jury and im­pair­ment to his dig­nity, [Kganyago] suf­fered dam­ages in the amount of R500,000,” the par­tic­u­lars of claim state.

OFF COLOUR: Andile Lungisa’s tweets at­tack­ing Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Le­setja Kganyago, pic­tured


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