KZN Health MEC faces R10m defamation lawsuit over alleged Zulu PM remarks

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane.

Published Apr 17, 2024


Zululand District Municipality mayor and traditional Zulu Prime Minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi has initiated a defamation case against KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane as she alleged that Buthelezi solicits sexual favours from married women.

Buthelezi’s lawyers had previously served Simelane with a letter demanding a retraction of the comments she had made during a recent rally in Vryheid or there would be a R10 million defamation lawsuit filed against her.

“We are instructed to demand that you immediately, formally and publicly retract the statement within seven days of receipt hereof, failing which our client will have no option but to seek damages in the amount of R10 million against you as compensation for your wrongful and unlawful conduct,” the letter said.

Buthelezi, who is a senior member of the IFP, has based his case on a video from the Vryheid rally which shows Simelane making comments allegedly accusing Buthelezi of soliciting sexual favours from married women.

In court papers filed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, which has been seen by “The Mercury”, Buthelezi said Simelane was being sued in her capacity as a member of the ANC and deputy provincial chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.

According to the court papers, Simelane, speaking in Zulu, referred to an event on March 15 during the 110th anniversary celebration of King Dinuzulu in Nongoma, where Buthelezi was speaking to the crowd when ANC chairperson Siboniso Duma grabbed the microphone from him.

Izinduna later condemned the act and asked Duma to apologise.

The court papers state that Simelane’s comments as translated were: “Izinduna must not look on one side at what Duma did, but they must look at what happened in the beginning before Duma acted that way.

“They should have said that the person who should have respected the chairperson is Thulasizwe because he is the one that ruined the ceremony. Therefore if Duma must pay, Thulasizwe must also pay.

“It is not right to us women that izinduna defend Thulasizwe for having the microphone grabbed from him but reserve their comments when Thulasizwe asks for sexual favours from married women.

“Why are the izindunas quiet for such a shame that a mayor tells employees that ‘before I pay your salary that you have worked for, come and sleep over at my place first'.”

The papers state that the statement “was done with the intention to defame (Buthelezi) and injure his reputation”.

Buthelezi said he is a candidate for the May elections on the IFP party list for the Provincial Legislature and Simelane’s “defamatory statement has a direct bearing” on his electability in the upcoming elections.

“The defendant’s statement was made with the intent of harming the plaintiff in his aforementioned positions as mayor, IFP provincial candidate, and prime minister of the Zulu nation.

“Because of the defamation, the plaintiff has been damaged in his reputation and suffered damages in the sum of R10 000 000.”

Simelane did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday but has 10 days to respond to Buthelezi’s summons.

The Mercury