The Economic Freedom Fighters and its leader Julius Malema want R500 000 each or an apology from political analyst Prince Mashele – who thinks it is all a big joke.
“I hope the hilarity of the idea of threatening to sue a political analyst for expressing a political opinion, which is what political analysts must do, has not escaped your clients,” Mashele wrote in response to the letter of demand from the EFF’s lawyer, Thabo Kwinana.
He continued: “It is like threatening to sue a politician for expressing a political view or, to bring matters home, threatening to sue a lawyer for expressing a legal opinion. Surely your clients must be tickled by this mirthful picture!”
But the EFF was a little more serious.
After all, the general elections next year are around the corner and the bloody red line should be drawn against … wait for it … cocky and mischievous political analysts. (side-eyes Mashele).
Seriously though, Kwinina placed it on record that “as a political analyst, you [Mashele] are entitled to make or hold opinion/s and/or a view/s, however, such opinion/s should be informed by correct information”.
Mashele earned the fury of the red berets in an SABC television interview on the morning of October 16 2018, a Tuesday to be precise, when he dubbed the EFF “a corrupt political party” during a discussion on the looting of VBS.
The EFF learnt corruption and graduated from the master corrupt political parent, the African National Congress, Mashele said.
He was on fire, adding that party was “formed to advance the corruption agenda”.
He said lots of other bad things that Kwinina, the EFF and Malema found “injurious to [their] reputation, good name and goodwill”. To list a few, Mashele also said:
• The EFF, its leader and commander in chief, Malema, and former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale made history at the time when they financially collapsed and bankrupted the Limpopo government through fraud and corruption.
• Typical of any corrupt politician and corrupt political party, the EFF would deny, deny and deny having any involvement and/or any knowledge of the looting that took place at VBS, even though the public knows otherwise.
• The EFF’s deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, was involved in the looting of the VBS, however, the EFF will protect and shield him as he is an integral part of the EFF’s corrupt agenda together with the EFF’s commander in chief.
• The EFF has positioned itself as a party opposed to corruption since it read the mood of the people of South Africa who are sick and tired of the rotten and corrupt ANC, however, in fact, the EFF is corrupt and rotten to the core itself.
• The EFF and its leadership should not be trusted by the electorate as they are part of the entire rotten body politic which is just like any “rotten apple”, it is not capable of being “eaten” partially or otherwise.
Right there, Mashele went too far, Kwinana blasted. “It is factually incorrect, false and misleading of you to publicly and even privately allege that the EFF is a political party established to pursue corruption and/or fraud to pursue a corrupt political agenda”.
Basically, all he wanted to say was: Issa lie!!! But that would not be legalese, would it? No. Okay.
Kwinina was still not finished, by the way.
“The EFF’s founding statutes and policy documents clearly sets out that the EFF is a radical and militant economic emancipation movement that brings together revolutionary, fearless, radical and militant activists, workers’ movements, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, and lobby groups under the umbrella of pursuing the struggle for economic emancipation”.
Phew! (my emphasis).
A quick summary would probably do:
• #ItIsFalse that Shivambu (not his younger brother, Brian) or the EFF are listed as having received money from VBS in the Great Bank Heist report.
•#ItIsUnfair and #ItIsFalse to say that the EFF and Malema are a fraud misleading the voters and therefore should not be trusted.
In so doing, said Kwinina, “you descended from a high moral accorded to you as a political analyst and expert to the political arena occupied by our clients’ political opponent/s which is characterised by nit-picking, political point-scoring and “cheap shots””.
He said Mashele’s disseminating of factually incorrect and/or false information under the guise of an “expert opinion” was wrongful and unlawful and “you did so with the intention of casting negative aspersions in respect of the integrity and reputation of our clients”
“The aforesaid allegations will affect the EFF’s chances at the incoming general elections to be held in 2019. So far opinion polls are predicting a 100% rise in the EFF’s political fortunes from just over 6% of the national vote to 13% and above”.
Mashele had 30 days from October 30 to comply or face a lawsuit. It only took him four days to gather his thoughts.
“It is quite possible that some of these shameless thugs wear red T-shirts and berets, and that others among them may hold elevated positions in pseudo-revolutionary, kleptocratic outfits that masquerade as political parties,” he said only three paragraphs into his response.
He confessed to doing multiple interviews on that day and saying the same things over and over again. “As you can see, my dear learned Sir, the VBS thugs have also looted my time – albeit indirectly,” he said.
“There are many ways to recover looted money, but looted time is gone forever. As you may know, time always fades into the past. And, once a minute has so slipped, it is eternally irretrievable. So is the time looted by the VBS thugs from me”.
Mashele said he hope that Malema and the EFF had a sense of humour.
He continued: “If their financial situation is very dire, please advise your clients to approach Mr Brian Shivambu (or one of his lucky brothers who may or may not wear a red beret) for a loan, while they wait for the money they seem to expect from me.”
In fact, he said, an apology was more expensive than the R500 000 demand.
“Think of Solomon Mahlangu, my dear learned Sir, who refused to apologise even in the face of death! Please rouse your clients from slumber so that they may appreciate fully the heavy, unmonetarisable weight of their demand – an apology”.
He concluded with homework of 10 questions for the EFF and its leaders:
1. What is your clients’ understanding of “political analysis”?
2. What is their understanding of “political opinion”?
3. What is their understanding of the distinction between a “fact” and “opinion”?
4. Do they understand a political analyst as a chronicler of facts or an expresser of opinions, and why?
5. What do your clients think a political analyst does, and, if they have some understanding, what accounts for their confidence in the assumed correctness of their understanding?
6. When a political analyst is invited by the SABC, or by any other broadcaster, do your clients expect the political analyst to enumerate facts or to express a political opinion?
7. When Malema once referred to President Cyril Ramaphosa as a “murderer,” was this, according to your clients, a fact or opinion – and, if it was an opinion, does such an opinion fall under a class of things which learned men of your esteemed status, my dear learned Sir, refer to as “defamatory statements”?
8. What do your clients understand by the concept of “deductive reasoning” in social analysis?
9. What do your clients think is the distinction between “synthesis” and “analysis” in political discourse?
10. How qualified are your clients to pass judgment as to the validity or otherwise of a political opinion?