Sparks are set to fly in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday as the defamation case against one of President Jacob Zuma’s most stalwart defenders gets under way.
EFF chairperson and advocate Dali Mpofu is bringing the case as part of the legal team of former intelligence minister and disillusioned ANC freedom fighter Ronnie Kasrils.
Kasrils is suing Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans (MKMVA) leader and deputy defence minister Kebby Maphatsoe, who called Kasrils “counter-revolutionary” and and “enemy of the people” ahead of the 2014 national elections.
Maphatsoe was upset at Kasrils’ call for ANC supporters to boycott the election or to spoil their votes in protest at the Zuma government.
Maphatsoe made numerous allegations at the time, among which that Kasrils had “sold out” South Africa’s intelligence to Western imperialists during Kasrils’ time as the minister of intelligence. He said that Kasrils had “never been with us”.
Even the 2006 Zuma rape trial involving a woman known as Khwezi was brought back into the spotlight, as Maphatsoe alleged that Kasrils was involved in an alleged “plot” to besmirch Zuma’s name by somehow luring Zuma into having sex with Khwezi.
He claimed that Kasrils had “sent” Khwezi to Zuma’s Forest Town house. Zuma was ultimately acquitted in court of the rape, though the woman in question has maintained that she did not consent to sex with the then deputy president of the ANC.
Kasrils wants compensation of R1 million from Maphatsoe for what he says was the damage to his reputation caused by Maphatsoe’s comments and the related loss of income.
Maphatsoe has given every indication that he will fight the matter all the way, and he stands by all his statements, especially that Kasrils had been “dismissive” of MK veterans while he served in Cabinet”. He maintains that encouraging people not to vote ANC or to spoil their ballot papers, as Kasrils did, was indeed counter-revolutionary and against the “fundamental right to vote”.