Former Minister and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Trevor Manuel has reportedly threatened to sue talk show host JJ Tabane if he does not retract his claim that Manuel helped form the Congress of the People (COPE).
According to a News24 report, Manuel wrote to Tabane on 9 May and gave him until the close of business on Wednesday (11 May) to retract the claim or face “legal proceedings.”
Trevor Manuel threatens legal action against JJ Tabane
“Your statement is simply not true. You peddled this false narrative in the full knowledge of its falseness by virtue of, at least, your apparent involvement in the formation of COPE at the time,” Manuel reportedly wrote.
“You will appreciate your wrongful and unlawful conduct has caused me and continues to cause me great harm. In the circumstances, I hereby call upon you to unreservedly withdraw the false, wrongful and unlawful statements you made of and concerning me during the aforesaid interview and ensure that your apology is prominently published in the print and electronic format media.”
In an interview on DJ Sbu’s The Hustlers Corner podcast aired on YouTube in mid-April, Tabane claimed that Manuel, former President Thabo Mbeki, former Minister Tito Mboweni and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana were among senior ANC leaders who helped form COPE in 2008.
Former ANC leaders Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa were among COPE’s founding leaders following the ANC’s recall of Mbeki from power. In a tweet posted earlier this week, Mbhazima cast doubt on Tabane’s claims.
“This is all I will say about the ‘revelations’ by JJ Tabane. People should go back to what happened at the Hefer Commission especially when my friends and comrades Mo and Mac faced Moerane, not to mention Vusi and Ranjeni. One would think people learnt then never to peddle lies,” he tweeted.
Sisulu calls for probe
However, ANC NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu is reportedly taking the allegations seriously. In a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, she called for an ANC internal investigation.
She lamented what she called the ANC’s “inaction” in the face of similar allegations in the past, citing a claim by the EFF in 2019 that NEC member Derek Hanekom was prepared to work with it to remove former President Jacob Zuma from power.
“It didn’t escape the South African public’s notice that in one of Malema’s press conferences he intimated that certain members of the party told his party leadership that they were spearheading the formation of the new party,” Sisulu wrote.
“Again in 2019, a senior member of ANC admitted publicly that he had worked with opposition leaders in the botched attempt to remove a sitting president of the ANC from power.
“In the main, such inaction on the part of the party leadership breeds an indisputable culture of impunity, self-destruction and anarchy, which to all intents and purposes constitute a recipe for the demise of the ANC.”