Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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EFF faces R10m lawsuit for ‘racist’ statement

Commercial cleaning company Afri-Services has added to the EFF’s legal woes by slapping the party with a lawsuit of more than R10 million for alleged racist statements published by its labour desk on social media, as well as for allegedly defying an earlier court order to render an apology.

The company, whose headquarters are in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg, filed its combined summons in the Johannesburg High Court on April 8, requesting that the EFF pay reputational damages for what it deemed “racist and harmful statements propelled by the red berets on Facebook on January 18 2021”.

City Press previously reported that the company had been granted an interdict from the same court in June, which prohibited the EFF from facilitating labour-related disputes between Afri-Services and its employees, particularly those working at the Toyota dealership in Barloworld in Witbank, Mpumalanga.

Its papers also cited that the EFF had deliberately refused to publish a written apology on the same platform and had failed to acknowledge that the statements had caused the company financial losses.

According to the document, the alleged racist statements published by the EFF’s labour desk had referred to Afri-Services as a “racist white corrupt company”.

“The EFF labour desk has registered a great victory: a racist white corrupt company called Afri-Services…” was the wording.

EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo acknowledged City Press’ request for comment and promised to revert with one, but had not done so by the time of going to print.

Afri-Services said in its court application that the statements had been intended to depict it as a “racist, corrupt company that discriminates and does not recognise the dignity of any racial group other than white people”.

“The words were understood by readers to mean that the plaintiff is a human rights violator and employs apartheid-style tactics and/or has no regard for the human rights of people other than those of the white population in South Africa,” read the papers.

Afri-Services argued that it had suffered reputational damage, which had resulted in the Secunda Mall in Mpumalanga terminating its contract with it.

“During a period of 36 months until July 31 2021, the plaintiff made a net total income of R1 935 812 from rendering cleaning services at the Secunda Mall, being an average net income of R53 772 per month.

“The plaintiff would have made a net total income of R1 935 812 for the period from August 1 2021 to July 31 2024, calculated by multiplying the average monthly net income of R53 772.57 with the period of 36 months,” it said.

The company is claiming R6 452 709.12 in damages “caused directly by wrongful defamation and/or conduct of the EFF by interfering in the contractual relationship between the company and its customer at the Secunda Mall”.

The company is claiming an additional R4 million from the EFF for reducing its esteem in the eyes of the public.

“The [statements] were published with the intention of defaming and injuring the plaintiff’s business reputation.”

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