The facts about the UDM’s court cases: Lebashe and Harith General partners
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) wishes to clarify the confusion caused by the incorrect reporting around its multi-legged litigation against the former deputy finance minister and Public Investment Corporation (PIC) board chairperson Jabu Moleketi, former PIC senior executive Tshepo Mahloele and their companies Lebashe and Harith General Partners, all of which were beneficiaries of PIC funding before Mr Moleketi and Mr Mahloele obtained financial interests in these companies.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) did not dismiss the appeal but struck it off the roll on the technicality that the interim order is not appealable. A written judgment will be issued in due course, but Justice Cachalia, who was presiding, indicated that there might be a minority judgment of one or two of the five judges who sat in the appeal.
The main case of defamation is still awaiting a trial date. It is at that trial, brought by Mr Moleketi and others, that the question of whether the UDM and its President Bantu Holomisa had defamed the plaintiffs when they sent the letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa raising allegations which led to the appointment of the commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding the PIC.
Once the judgment is issued the UDM and its president will head to the Constitutional Court to appeal against the appealability ruling of the SCA.
Mr Moleketi and the others brought a second case for a gagging order in July 2020 regarding another letter dealing with allegations of similar corruption at the Development Bank of Southern Africa involving Mr Moleketi who used to chair the DBSA board.
They withdrew their urgent application and were ordered to pay the UDM’s costs. They then brought their main defamation application which was argued in September 2020. Judgment was reserved and it is expected to be handed down shortly in that round of the many battles between these parties.
In short, at the moment the parties are awaiting two reserved judgments, one in the High Court and the other in the SCA. The UDM also awaits the payment of its costs by the other side as recently ordered by Judge Tolmay in the High Court.
The UDM is committed to exposing corruption whenever it rears its ugly head. One of the most prevalent forms of corruption is known as “the javelin” which refers to the situation where a public official “joins the private sector” only to find them benefiting from contracts concluded with their previous public entities. This is at the centre of all the cases between these parties.