‘Defamation’ case against Sgudla, Bhuti Mamba postponed

'Defamation' case against Sgudla, Bhuti Mamba postponed
RESPONDENTS: Both Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba are being hauled into court for allegedly defaming George Xaba. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK.

Xaba rushed to court in a bid to stop the two PRET leaders from “causing harm” to his reputation.

The Tshwane high court sitting in Middelburg has postponed the defamation case against Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba.

Sgudla, who is President of the Practical Radical Economic Transformation non-profit group of Mpumalanga, and Mamba who is the group’s eMalahleni sub-regional leader, are being hauled into court by eMalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba for statements that the two made on the Thursday afternoon of 27 September 2018.

Both Sgudla and Mamba addressed a community meeting at the Dingindoda settlement in Tasbet Park and ripped into Xaba for collecting R3.7 million from the public homes to “enrich himself”.

SEE HERE: EHC’s George Xaba accused of enriching himself

Xaba had brought an urgent court application to stop Sgudla and Mamba from saying that “I’m corrupt and enrich myself at the expense of the tenants”.

“They have made defamatory allegations of the serious nature,” Xaba said in court papers.

ALSO RELATED: George Xaba pays himself R1.3 million salary from Dingindoda rents

Xaba’s lawyer Andrew Brandmuller Tuesday this week said the matter will now go into the normal court roll after he had had an agreement with Sgudla and Mamba’s lawyer Matthew Kerr Phillips.

He told Judge Segopotje Mphahlele that the date of 4 March 2019 would be suitable for all of them as lawyers to come argue.

Xaba also wants the court to interdict Sgudla and Mamba from “interfering with the contractual relationship” between himself and the Dingindoda residents after the two told the residents to no longer pay rent – and were preparing the homes to be made rent-to-buy homes so that the vulnerable tenants “do not rent forever”.

Dingindoda residents in Tasbet Park, eMalahleni listening while Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba addresses them on 27 September 2018

“I know that most of you here no longer work for yourself but for your children,” Sgudla said, “and what will then happen to you if you lose your job or die and not able to pay rent? They will be kicked out,” he told the residents of their kids, saying the only option for them is to go through the process of rent-to-buy than being forced “to rent forever” by those who want to “enrich” themselves from their hard earned money.

In another court case, Xaba wants the court to review the Land Availability Agreement that makes Sgudla’s Anchorprops Pty Ltd in charge as a developer over the Dingindoda assets and surrounding land.

He argues that the Land Availability Agreement that Anchorprops and the eMalahleni municipality concluded on 20 March 2003 is “unlawful and invalid”.

 'Defamation' case against Sgudla, Bhuti Mamba postponed
George Xaba. 013NEWS/ZK.

The municipality actually owns the land and gave it to Anchorprops to develop the homes through the Land Availability Agreement document.

Xaba argues in court papers how the municipality and Anchorprops “purported to settle the 2009 application inter alia on the basis that the Land Availability Agreement was valid and enforceable and that the municipality would cooperate with the developer in giving effect thereto”.

Sgudla’s Anchorprops, Demacode, the eMalahleni municipality, human settlement MEC Norah Mahlangu and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority are respondents in the matter being brought by Xaba.

The Land Availability Agreement gives Anchorprops as a developer of the 1 300 units the powers to sell the Dingindoda homes “to members of the public” and also requires that the developer uses the money to pay the municipality money for land on which the homes were built.

But Xaba, who himself collects rent and does not give it to the municipality, argues that this is against the law because it wants Anchorprops to benefit from municipal assets and says it was built with public funds.

“On or about 10 December 2009, the developer instituted an application with a view to enforcing the terms of the Land Availability Agreement. This application was brought in the Gauteng Division of the High Court,” Xaba says in the court papers.

“When the municipality, eMalahleni Housing Company and the Mpumalanga housing department opposed the application and made counter application for orders declaring the Land Availability Agreement unlawful and invalid, the developer decided not to proceed with the application,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Troubled George Xaba’s community meeting collapses

“On 30 June 2016, and unbeknown to the eMalahleni Housing Company, seven years after the municipality had opposed any attempt by the developer to enforce the Land Availability Agreement, the municipality decided to conclude a settlement agreement with the developer,” Xaba said in the papers.

“In terms of the settlement agreement the municipality purported to settle the 2009 application inter alia on the basis that the Land Availability Agreement was valid and enforceable and that the municipality would cooperate with the developer in giving effect thereto,” the court papers read.

The review applications will be heard on 13 May and 26 August 2019.

(edited by ZK)

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