The University of Zululand (UniZulu) and vice chancellor Professor Xoliswa Mtose are demanding R5 million from a fired employee, claiming he damaged their reputations.
Former lecturer and former National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) university shop steward Hlakaniphani Jamile was served the combined summons by the sheriff of the Durban High Court last week.
ANA is in possession of a copy of the summons. Jamile is now facing two legal matters against his former employer.
Earlier this month UniZulu and Mtose sought an interdict preventing Jamile from making any further defamatory remarks and to apologise for those he had already made against the institution and the vice chancellor.
Jamile was dismissed by the university towards the end of the academic year in 2016 for “acts of gross misconduct and dishonesty”.
That interdict application, which also cites Nehawu as a respondent although the union has distanced itself from Jamile’s utterances, will be heard in April. The interdict seeks to restrain Jamile from “publishing or causing to be published any defamatory and/or false statements” against Mtose and the university.
In Mtose’s supporting affidavit, she said Jamile had falsely claimed she was corrupt and incompetent. The interdict asks the court to declare a statement made in November 2016 to the Mtunzini South African Police Service (SAPS) by Jamile, citing Mtose, defamatory and that Jamile publicly apologise for a news report that appeared in The Sowetan that same month, based on the same police affidavit.
Mtose also asked that a report submitted to Parliament’s higher education and training portfolio committee, signed by Jamile on a Nehawu letterhead, be deemed defamatory.
On Tuesday, Jamile filed his notice to defend both the damages claim and the interdict application against him. The R5 million damages suit cites the same Mtunzini SAPS affidavit as the primary reason behind the university and Mtose’s claim. Jamile told ANA he would approach Legal Aid for assistance.
Jamile’s affidavit stated Mtose had awarded fraudulent tenders, irregularly spent R9 million a month on security contracts, spent R35 million of “student funds” purchasing luxury accommodation for university executives, purchased student accommodation in Richards Bay at an inflated price, and was allowing the university to offer a “bogus” Bachelor of Education qualification degree.
“The contents and words contained in [Jamile’s SAPS] affidavit are defamatory to [the university and Mtose] and have brought them into ill repute,” read the summons.
The summons said the subsequent news articles emanating from the police statement placed the university and Mtose “in a position which questioned their reputability [sic] in the public eye as providers of quality higher education”.
“As a result of the defamatory statements… made by [Jamile] the plaintiffs have been damaged in their reputation and have suffered damages in the amount of R5 million.” No court date has been set for the damages claim to be heard.