NATIONAL NEWS - Billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe dragged Black First Land First (BLF) to the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
This comes just a day after the party was forced to appear before the Equality Court, where it was ruled that its slogan “land or death” constituted hate speech. The party is expected to issue a written apology and remove the slogan from all party branding, something it has refused to do. Despite being found guilty of hate speech, the party issued a statement declaring the ruling a “victory” as the party will remain on the ballot for the May 8 elections.
Towards the end of April, Motsepe sent Mngxitama and his party a letter following utterances from Mngxitama at a press conference accusing Bridget Radebe, the wife of Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and sister of Motsepe, of underhanded political and business dealings in Botswana. The BLF leader alleged that the billionaire was also involved.
Motsepe took issue with Mngxitama having alleged that his sister had ambitions to take over the diamond industry in Botswana and that she and Motsepe had been involved in an alleged coup plot in the country to that end.
His lawyers said: “These remarks are all untruthful.”
The lawyers added that Mngxitama’s comments were injurious to their client’s dignity, were offensive, derogatory, hurtful, and exposed their client to general disesteem and ill-will.
Motsepe’s lawyers demanded that Mngxitama and the BLF give a written undertaking by Sunday afternoon that they would refrain from making any further allegedly defamatory remarks. Mngxitama and BLF refused to apologise, leading to civil action against them in the high court.
The party released a statement confirming the court appearance.
“The urgent application was brought by Patrice Motsepe’s legal team in order to silence BLF and president Andile Mngxitama on the Motsepe family’s alleged role in the attempted soft coup in Botswana, nefariously linked to the country’s diamond business,” the statement says.
In reaction to Motsepe’s demand for Mngxitama to apologise, he instead doubled down, releasing a statement in which he made further written accusations against Radebe and Motsepe, once again welcoming the decision of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government to impose travel restrictions on Bridgette Radebe due to the accusations of her being “involved in a regime change campaign to remove President Masisi from power and replace him with Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is backed by Masisi’s predecessor, Ian Khama”.
He repeated the allegation that Radebe was “being used” by supposed “imperialist interests to create hostility towards President Mokgweetsi Masisi in return for securing her own mining interests”.