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EFF councillor faces possibility of having to cough up R500K over defamatory Facebook post

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A councillor of the EFF based in Ladysmith is facing the possibility of having to cough up R500 000 to compensate a district mayor he defamed on Facebook.

Lwazilwakhe Nkosi was given a strict 24-hour deadline (starting from the day the order was issued) to withdraw the false and defamatory allegations and publicly apologise in writing on his Facebook page. File picture: Denis Charlet/AFP

A COUNCILLOR of the EFF based in Ladysmith, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is facing the possibility of having to cough up R500,000 to compensate a district mayor he defamed on Facebook last year.

This was after the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 22 March ordered Lwazilwakhe Nkosi to withdraw the ‘’false and defamatory statements’’ he made against UThukela district municipality mayor, Inkosi Ntandoyenkosi Shabalala, from the IFP.

Nkosi, who is an EFF councillor in the Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) local municipality, which is one of the three local municipalities making up the Uthukela district municipality, wrongly accused Shabalala of nepotism, among other things.

He was given a strict 24-hour deadline (starting from the day the order was issued) to withdraw the false and defamatory allegations and publicly apologise in writing on his Facebook page.

It’s not yet clear whether Nkosi abided by the order to apologise to Shabalala or not.

However, he has noticeably gone silent on his Facebook page – his posts are no longer as frequent as they used to be.

Nkosi was also interdicted by the high court from making any further defamatory statements against Shabalala.

After oral evidence has been heard, Nkosi may find himself having to compensate Inkosi Shabalala with half a million rand.

This is as the high court ruled that the quantum of the lawsuit, in which Shabalala wants to be compensated with half a million, would be determined after hearing oral evidence from all parties.

“As a result of the respondent’s (Nkosi) publication of the defamatory and false statements about the applicant (Shabalala), the applicant has suffered damages to an amount of R500,000, alternatively, to an amount to be determined by this court.

“The determination of the amount R500,000 in damages claimed on paragraph 5 is referred for determination on oral evidence,” the court ruled.

The court also slapped Nkosi with legal fees as it ordered that he should pay Shabalala for all the legal fees he incurred while pursuing the lawsuit.

“The respondent is to pay the costs of the application,” the court ordered.

Nkosi refused to say whether he would appeal the ruling or not.

‘’Why should I answer you,’’ Nkosi said to IOL on Tuesday when asked to spell out his next step.

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