Politics is rough and robust – but that’s no licence for racist or sexist slurs. And now the courts have lain down the law.
This was the word from Premier Helen Zille on Thursday after the Western Cape High Court ordered the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu to apologise to her for various defamatory statements made in 2009.
Shivambu had called her a “racist girl” and “sick woman” and claimed that her all-male executive were her boyfriends and concubines.
She also took issue with Malema calling her executive council a “group of racist Helen Zille garden boys” at a rally in Cato Manor, Durban, in February 2009.
At the same rally, he apparently referred to her as a “racist”, “colonialist” and “imperialist”.
She described the insults as “racist” and “sexist” and sued the men and the ANCYL for R350 000 each.
Summons was also issued against provincial leader Andile Lili.
However, Zille said she had agreed to a settlement after she was asked whether she would be amenable to an apology.
The settlement was made an order of court on Thursday.
In terms of the settlement, the ANC Youth League, Malema and Shivambu unreservedly apologised for and unequivocally retracted the defamatory statements made by them.
The order recorded that Malema, Shivambu and the ANCYL recognised the offence taken and harm caused.
The ANCYL, Malema and Shivambu were jointly and severally liable to pay Zille’s legal costs.
Zille’s attorney, Amanda Torr, told the Cape Argus yesterday that Judge Lee Bozalek made the order in chambers and not in open court. The settlement agreement did not include Lili, who has refused to apologise.
Zille said on Thursday night: “All too often, the only card the ANC has left to play is the race card.
“I wanted the courts to draw a line on this, and this has now been done.”