Former EFF MP Thembinkosi Rawula, who resigned from the party early this year after accusing leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu of using party money to fund their lifestyles, has won the defamation court case instituted against him by Malema.
The EFF leader approached the Eastern Cape division of the South African High Court on May 21, accusing Rawula of defamation as a result of the latter having accused Malema and Shivambu of financial mismanagement and of accepting a donation from the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank.
Rawula made the accusations in a Facebook post earlier this year.
These allegations came just weeks after Rawula was excluded from the list of candidates who would be representing the EFF in Parliament and the provincial legislature after the May general elections.
Acting Judge N.J Mulins ruled in favour of Rawula without any cost orders.
“In conclusion, as the Facebook post had been removed on April 9, I am of the view that the applicant would not even have succeeded with an interim interdict, let alone a final one, and intend to dismiss the application. As the respondent appeared in person, I intend to make no order as to cost, the application is dismissed,” ruled Mulins.
Advocate K Premhid of Ian Levitt attorneys, arguing on behalf of Malema, had said there were no facts that supported Rawula’s claims regarding the VBS accusation.
However, Mulins said that because of Rawula’s previous senior position, he was in a better position to prove that the claims were true.
“Due to his senior position in the EFF he has certain information and he says the statements are true, and given the opportunity, he will prove it; he does not rely on bare denial,” said Mulins.
Rawula, who was representing himself, welcomed the judgement, referring to it as a “victory of public interest”.
“It has put to rest all the things I had a problem with, after putting my life on hold working on the case,” Rawula told City Press on Tuesday.
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“You will note that I was representing myself, it took my personal time and caused so much anxiety on my family, but overall, we welcome the judgement. My political life was also on hold because of this case. This is a victory of truth in public interest,” said Rawula.
Malema said he was suing Rawula for R1 million after Rawula’s accusations against him and Shivambu.
The EFF leader then wrote to Rawula through his lawyers, demanding that he retract his statement publicly.
A defiant Rawula requested that the party disclose all organisational bank and credit card statements and invoices indicating payment to services providers since 2014.