Former ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa has apologised to South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Lesetja Kganyago, following tweets which characterised Kganyago as a “lackey of racist people”.
The rant left Kganyago suing Lungisa for R500 000 for defamation.
Lungisa’s tweets came at the height of the public spat within the ANC about the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank in June last year.
At the time, Lungisa tweeted: “He, like many of his ilk, imagines that proximity to the culturally fetid but economically Neo-settlers, coupled with a few lattes makes him an exceptional k****r”.
This tweet, which was accompanied by a photo of Kganyago, was removed from Lungisa’s timeline but a screengrab accompanies Kganyago’s court papers.
A day later, he again tweeted: “Lesetja Kganyago, a dutiful servant of our racialist classes supérieures, is an ardent disciple of the neoliberal dystopia that has condemned millions of African people to a desolate existence.”
In an affidavit in August, Kganyago claimed that Lungisa had about 20 000 followers at the time of publication and that these statements were widely read by the public.
In his apology, Lungisa said he had time to reflect on his actions and was sorry for any negative effects his words had on Kganyago’s dignity.
“The statements were not only wrongful but were untrue and made without any basis in fact and/or at all,” he said.
He also apologised for using the k-word.
“There is no justification for having used this word considering the history of its use within the Republic of South Africa to injure and impair the dignity of all black South Africans.”
The Reserve Bank’s Thoraya Pandy confirmed the governor has accepted the public apology, issued to both the governor and members of the public. The R500 000 payment will no longer apply.
“It was really never about the money, but rather about the dignity of black South Africans. Use of the k-word is unacceptable, considering how it was used in the past. The defamation case has been about making sure that Mr Lungisa apologises to the public and black South Africans in particular,” she says.
Court papers from the Eastern Cape High Court confirmed a settlement was reached between the two.
The case was dropped after it was agreed that Lungisa would apologise publicly and retracted his verbal attack.
The apology was published by Lungisa’s lawyers on his Twitter account on Saturday.