A former Democratic Alliance (DA) activist who accused former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip of offering her a bribe was on Friday found guilty on charges of defamation and crimen injuria by the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court.
Nontuthuzelo Jack, 47, from Tshwete Village was convicted after she claimed that Trollip had offered her a bribe to “dig up dirt” on former DA provincial chairperson Veliswa Mvenya.
Her claims were published in a local newspaper in the run-up to the municipal elections in 2016.
Following the court judgment, Trollip tweeted: “The truth always prevails.”https://twitter.com/AtholT/status/1045603494131109888
It’s interesting that mr Bobani and Troon aren’t here today to hear the judgement as they have been hovering around this case with questionable interest. This in itself raises questions about the civil defamation case in the Grahamstown high court. The plot thickens.
— Athol Trollip (@AtholT) September 28, 2018
Jack is expected to be sentenced next Thursday.
The DA in the Eastern Cape welcomed the judgment, calling the lead-up to it a “nefarious political conspiracy against Athol Trollip during the 2016 local government elections”.
“Today the judge tore into Ms Jack and ripped apart her testimony,” said DA provincial spokesperson Mlindi Nhanha.
“At the time these false claims were immediately denied and Mr Trollip proceeded to lay a charge of crimen injuria against Ms Jack. After repeated ducking, diving and obfuscating, Ms Jack has been exposed as a liar.
“It is of particular concern that former DA chairperson in the Eastern Cape Ms Mvenya testified against Mr Trollip in this case. Her credibility has been dealt a decisive blow today. The judgment today has exposed this political conspiracy in which she and Ms Mvenya appears to have been complicit.
“It is clear that this was malicious smear campaign intended to derail the DA and Mr Trollip’s mayoral campaign in 2016.”
Nhanha said the interest shown in the case by UDM mayor of the city Mongameli Bobani and Lawrence Troon “and their attendance in court also lends credence to this assertion”.
Trollip still has a civil case pending against Mr Knight Mali in the Grahamstown High Court.
Troon had earlier apologised unconditionally for his defamatory statements levelled against Trollip in the past, said Nhanha.
The statement finished: “The DA in the Eastern Cape remains steadfast behind its federal chairperson and is looking forward to the Knight Mali case in the Grahamstown High Court.”