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JJ Tabane: I did not defame Trevor Manuel with comments about Cope

The controversial political commentator says he will defend himself in court

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel says his reputation is on the line after claims by JJ Tabane that he was involved in the formation of Cope while serving as an ANC NEC member.
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel says his reputation is on the line after claims by JJ Tabane that he was involved in the formation of Cope while serving as an ANC NEC member.
Image: James Oatway

Television anchor and political commentator JJ Tabane is sticking to his guns on allegations that former finance minister Trevor Manuel was involved in the formation of ANC splinter party Cope.

If Manuel, who asked Tabane to withdraw his claims, wants a legal tussle, it's game on, charged an upbeat Tabane.

The political commentator who does not shy away from controversy said he said what he said in response to a question and is adamant none of his statement was malicious.

“I was interviewed on The Hustlers Corner and was asked a question relating to the formation of Cope. I responded to this question and nothing in my answer was defamatory, contrary to what you (Manuel)  allege,” Tabane told Manuel.

“I therefore stand by that answer and have no intention of withdrawing it or making any apology as demanded by you. If you choose to take legal action, I will defend it vigorously.”

Manuel has given Tabane an ultimatum to withdraw or face litigation. The former minister said he was hot under the collar by what he calls “falsehoods” in Tabane’s statement.

According to Manuel, his integrity is on the line because of the claims by Tabane that he was involved in the formation of Cope while serving as ANC national executive committee member.

Thus, Tabane must retract no later than end of business on Wednesday or face the music.

“At the time of the founding of Cope, I was a member of the national executive committee of the ANC. I remained a member of the NEC until I stepped down at the 53rd national conference that convened in Mangaung in December 2012. Your accusation that I was involved in the formation of Cope while an NEC member of the ANC impugns my integrity,” Manuel told Tabane.

“From my perspective, you have accused me of duplicitous conduct. This incorrect perception, unless immediately retracted and corrected, can and will take hold in the minds of the public at large, thereby undermining my standing in the broader South African community.

“You will appreciate your wrongful and unlawful conduct has caused me and continues to cause me great harm,” Manuel continued on the offensive. “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. I also require you to apologise for the harm your unlawful conduct has caused and continues to cause me.”

Tabane’s allegations against Manuel and other high-ranking ANC leaders has caused a stir with NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu petitioning party boss Cyril Ramaphosa to open a probe.


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