Lungisa sued for R500,000
Reserve Bank governor takes him on over ‘degrading’ tweets
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