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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

Maimane ordered to cough up R475k for defaming former DA members

Build One SA leader previously apologised and offered R35k each to the complainants.

Build One SA leader Mmusi Maimane will have to come up with R475,000, plus legal costs, after he was found guilty of defamation.

Maimane made “disparaging statements” in a 2018 newsletter linking former DA members Shaun August, Suzette Ann Little, Gregchan Garreth Barnardo, and Thulani Stemele to alleged tender irregularities.

The four sued him for R1m each, but Maimane made a public apology and offered to pay each of the four R35,000 as compensation, plus costs. This was rejected as being “too little, too late”.

During trial the four members said they would settle for amounts of between R200,000 and R300,000; but Maimane argued the demands were too high and R35,000 each was enough.

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The Western Cape High Court ruled on the matter on Friday, setting the total amount Maimane should pay in damages as R475,000.

“In all of these circumstances, I am of the view that the amount of R35,000.000 tendered by the defendant [Maimane] is too low.  On the other hand, the amounts proposed by the plaintiffs [former councillors] are relatively high. In the exercise of my discretion I regard the following as appropriate in relation to each of the plaintiffs: Mr August: R100,000.00; Ms Little: R120,000.00; Mr Barnardo: R135,000.00; and Mr Stemele: R120,000.00.”

Maimane was ordered to pay legal costs related to some of the court appearances.

During the trial, the four recounted how the allegations against them left them unable to pursue work or employment opportunities and damaged their standing in the community.

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Maimane first offered a public apology, and later a more extensive one through his legal team just before the trial, which the court agreed may have been done to stop the matter heading to court.

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