Trollip’s accuser ‘adjusting her truth’
Woman accusing Trollip of bribing her flipflop on the stand in court
The woman accusing Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip of bribing her to dig up dirt on his political nemesis, former DA Eastern Cape chair and MPL Veliswa Mvenya, flipflopped on the stand on Thursday as she testified in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court.
Former DA member Nontuthuzelo Jack changed her tune when she took to the stand earlier in the day, claiming that when she met Trollip on March 20 2016 outside the Motherwell police station – the supposed meeting spot for the alleged bribe – he offered her R2,000.
But during questioning, she constantly changed the amount.
The figure later jumped to R3,000 and, by the end of her testimony, she had allegedly been offered R5,000 in a money bag on the vehicle’s dashboard.
Trollip’s wife, Janine, and DA federal chair James Selfe both testified previously in court that it was not possible for Trollip to have been in Port Elizabeth on March 20 2016 as he was out of town.Jack claimed Trollip called her twice – once at 7am and again at 9am – to arrange the meeting spot for the alleged bribe to take place.
But cellphone records for Jack, submitted to court as evidence, show she did not receive any calls that morning from Trollip, while Trollip’s records showed he had not made any calls to Jack that morning.
Jack, who is facing a charge of crimen injuria and perjury, appeared irritable at times as state prosecutor Jamari du Toit cross-questioned her.
“We were sitting in a navy blue car, I can’t remember the make of the car,” Jack said of the alleged meeting.
“He [Trollip] took out the money and placed it on the dashboard.
“I started swearing at him and got out of the car.
“I did not want the blood of other people on my hands.”
Jack said she had then gone home and called former DA councillor Xolile Klaas.When Du Toit presented the cellphone records to Jack, she became cagey and said: “I am saying he [Trollip] did call me, I am not happy with the cellphone records.
“Trollip’s number would not appear on the records because he used a different number to call me.”
Jack claimed Trollip had called her number three times before 7am.
The court has heard previously that Trollip was in Port Alfred with his family that weekend at the time of the alleged meeting.
He attended a cricket tournament on Saturday March 19 2016 and was at a church service – with photographic evidence to back up his visit – on the Sunday.
“In your affidavit, you said Trollip called you at 7am and at 9am, this is now the first time the state heard that you met Trollip after 7am,” Du Toit said.
“All the photos and witnesses show that there is no way he could have been in Port Elizabeth at that time.
“You have a problem now, and you’re trying to fix it by putting him in PE before church. You are adjusting your truth and it is clear that you are giving a totally new version of the time.”
The cellphone records read out in court did not back up Jack’s claims, and showed that she had sent Klaas a “please call me” message at 8.56am and received a phone call from Klaas at 9.31am on Sunday March 20 2016.
The records showed no trace of Trollip’s number or calls from any other number to Jack’s cellphone during the time she claimed.
After lunch, Klaas was called to the stand and he detailed how he had received the “please call me” message from Jack’s number and said that when he called her “after 8am” she was in tears.
“I told her to hang on, I would come to her. I even left in my pyjamas because of the state she was in,” he said.
“She [Jack] told me that Trollip had asked her to get information on Veliswa [Mvenya].
“She told me Trollip said he would give her R5,000 to help him.”
When questioned about his cellphone records, Klaas wanted to be excused and refused to answer.
Trollip, who had been asked to leave the courtroom, sat outside during Jack and Klaas’s testimony, while his wife, DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga and several other DA members remained inside. The case was postponed to August 13.
Speaking to The Herald, Trollip said: “When you are accused of something like bribery, for anybody it is very difficult and unpalatable, but if you are a public representative, it is especially bad.
“I hadn’t bribed anybody and it became very clear to me that this was a political smear campaign. I just want the truth to come out because my name is being besmirched.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is a political smear campaign that is going wrong at the moment, but now the courts will be able to ascertain who is telling the truth.”
Axed deputy mayor and UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani and former ANC councillor Lawrence Troon were also in court. After court adjourned, Troon was overheard saying: “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”
Last month, Troon apologised to Trollip and unconditionally withdrew defamatory allegations of racism, cruelty and exploitation he had made against him.
Mvenya claimed in a bombshell interview last month – a month after she quit the party – that the DA was centred on one man, Trollip, and if you differed with him on anything, he would turn people against you.ALSO READ