Barrow threatens Zille with defamation law suit

“The Settlement” bears even more dissent

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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 30 July 2013. 07h00. Nic Barrow has demanded R500,000 in damages for defamation from DA Leader Premier Helen Zille.

Zille’s curt response in answer to my query in the matter: “I’ll see him in court.”

Barrow claims to have been defamed by Zille’s comments on the troublesome so-called “settlement” in the Pierre Nel vs. Oudtshoon Municipality case reported in the Saturday Argus of July 13 – see the story below.

Barrow has also threatened the Argus and journalist Warda Meyer with law suits.

Barrow currently has numerous law suits in progress. He has sued Mayor Gordon April; Speaker John Stoffels; Media Liaison Officer Ntobeko Mangqwegqwe and others.

In a letter to the municipality’s external legal advisor, Hardy Mills, Barrow recently asked that all matters be deferred until after August 7 – by-election day.

It would appear that much rides on August 7…

However, whatever the outcome of the by-elections, it has now become clear that the High Court case John Stoffels vs. Ben van Wyk et al will be heard on August 13, even though events will at the time have been overtaken by the course of events.

The reason for the hearing to continue is to determine the legality of the May 31 meeting that followed the formal council meeting. And, of course, to determine who will pay the costs.

It would ceratinly be appropriate for the court to decide the lawfulness of the meeting of 31 May. An authoritative judicial finding is called for.

The Constitutional Court con has become a major consideration to be heard on 13 August.

I asked Zille why only Pierre Nel and Ben van Wyk had their memberships suspended, and not all 11 members of the DA caucus.

The DA leader argued that it is not clear whether or not all caucus members were party to the “settlement” decision – the so-called “Resolution 24/6/13” that nobody has ever seen – except, probably, the signatories.

This clearly indicates that some of the caucus members are denying participation. And this indicates a split caucus – there is serious devisions in DA ranks in Oudtshoorn. (O!O has already indicated that there are at least two camps in the local DA, influenced by different members of the party leadership. This division seems to grow as this Constitutional Court con continues to undermine unity.)

There are current views that Nel’s signature was forged on the document. O!O rejects this notion, even though Nel is not forthcoming with confirmation or denial that it is indeed his signature on the document.

It is not so much the questionable legality of the DA’s 31 May and 24 and 25 June doingses that irks me; it is the abject stupidity of it all that sickens me.

I’d like to think that the opposition in the Oudtshoorn council is not made up of rank idiots. And it would appear that it is indeed the case: The DA caucus has no political intelligence at all.

And to crown the DA’s troubles, some of the “apostate five” are now beginning to sing – because the DA’s promises of “support” are not materialising. More later. Lots more. As in sommer baie meer…

Here’s that Argus story:

Zille moves to discipline DA councillors over deed of settlement

13 Jul 2013
Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)
Warda Meyer

DA Leader Helen Zille has instituted disciplinary steps against her own councillors in the embattled Oudtshoorn municipality, where trouble has been brewing over a suspicious “deed of settlement’ entered into by DA councillors over a private legal bill.
It recently emerged that the DA councillors, on behalf of the municipality, had settled with one of their own, DA councillor Pierre Nel, who lost his case, with costs, after a legal battle with the municipality.
But according to the “new settlement”, each party will pay its own costs of the estimated R4.5 million bill, despite costs being awarded to the municipality by the Western Cape High Court and later by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The deed of settlement will, in effect, see taxpayers pay about R2m for Nel’s legal bill against the municipality.
Municipal insiders said 11 DA councillors and a Cope councillor conspired to push through the settlement in an attempt to avoid Nel having to pay the legal costs himself. This came shortly after the DA’s May 31 take-over bid in the local municipality.
Insiders claimed further that the settlement drafted by well-known Oudtshoorn businessman and attorney Nic Barrow on behalf of Nel and DA councillor Ben van Wyk was made to resemble an official Constitutional Court document, but lacked an official Constitutional Court case number. It indicated that Nel would withdraw the application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court, although no such case existed.
An outraged Zille denied that the DA had authorised any settlement instruction.
“The DA would never accept or condone, let alone implement any so-called agreement which requires the ratepayers to pay a private legal bill.”
The DA leader said she asked one of the councillors involved to explain the situation, and had subsequently received documentation.
“I immediately instructed that disciplinary procedures be implemented against the DA councillors allegedly involved. I have asked Local Government MEC Anton Bredell whether criminal charges should be brought,” she added.
Zille also wants action taken against Barrow: “It is clear that Nic Barrow, a local businessman, was central to these developments, and should not escape the consequences.”
Approached for comment, Bredell said he was investigating lodging criminal charges, and would make a decision on the way forward by early next week.
Oudtshoorn mayor Gordon April called the “settlement” a “figment of some fraught fantasy”. He accused Barrow, the DA councillors and the Cope councillor of conspiring to dump the legal costs on unsuspecting ratepayers, and has subsequently laid criminal charges against all involved.
Nel could not be reached for comment, but DA spokesman Chris MacPherson said the incident was being blown out of proportion because there was no federal DA approval for such an agreement.
Barrow called the allegations false and baseless, and said he had issued summons against the mayor and the media liaison officer for the municipality, for defamation. He is suing each for R300 000.
Concerning the alleged criminal cases against his client, Barrow said he was not aware of any such cases.

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5 thoughts on “Barrow threatens Zille with defamation law suit

  1. I just don’t get it. What value do the Cape Town politicians add to Oudsthoorn. Why do we even allow them to enter the Southend Cape? They play their games at our expenses, they have no interest in us other than to use us as their pawn. If Zille does not have the integrity to rid the DA of Bredell and Botha then she best put on the the number two jersey and work it with the Stormers. The DA disgusts me and their tactics are not limited to Oudtshoorn.

  2. Oh so Afriforum. I just don’t know what any of this has to do with managing a municipality. “Everything”, I hear you say. Well I disagree. Again…

    What does it matter who “runs” the municipality, as long as the job gets done? I mean, honestly, with tears in my eyes. How difficult is it to run a municipality? It’s all laid out in the municipal Systems, Finance and Structures Act. It isn’t rocket science, you know. trust me!

    So now what? Again, for the umpteenth time. If the people of Oudtshoorn who make out as if they are so concerned about good governance (about which I am seriously beginning to doubt) as opposed to lining their own pocket with the petty, material spoils of these wasteful and fruitless wars, then I suggest they (read :we) begin to take matters municipal into our own hands, get to know the act, get to know what the councillors can and cannot do, get to council meetings en mass, inundate councillors who patently don’t perform with paper and take charge, instead of shouting the odds from the side lines.

    No but seriously. Think about it, and ask the question. Is anything, has anything EVER, have we achieved anything by beating this drum. No! So you would think it’s time to change direction, you think?

    Humans are strange creatures. We hate prophets of doom, yet we fail to act even when we know what we need to do to avoid disaster. Yes, it’s been like that since time in memorial. But that is not an excuse for inaction.

    So how’s this for a prediction. Judging by the amount of rain and snow we have had this year so far, unless we get a sudden deluge (which wouldn’t exactly be good either, for other reasons), I dont think (and a lot of the farms dont think either) that Kannaland is going to have enough water next summer.

    Do we reduce the water pressure in the pipes? No!
    Do we build a dam when our old one is stuffed to catch whatever rain may come? No!
    Do we manage our meagre resources that we have in a responsible manner? No.

    Guess What! There is a good chance Kannaland will be f_cked come this summer and what are we doing about it. NOTHING. Nothing that I can see at least. Nothing that has or is being communicated to the residents of ladismith and surrounding areas. the mayor is silent, the municipal manager doesn’t say a word and the speaker and cfo, well who knows what they do, they don’t tell us. But the problem isn’t entirely their fault either.

    There is a curious case of reversed anger in the town and this is how it works. Bottom Line. Because the whites in the town feel disempowered even though they see themselves paying the majority of the rates and taxes, and because they feel powerless to direct the future of the town (like they use to), the hostility that builds, rather than being channelled into constructive action, inverts and turns people (yes, the white predominantly afrikaans people against each other). Despite the so called ethos of “saameverking”, what we find is a hostility born of defeat. Yet ask any one and they all say the same thing “we admire/love the Jews/Israelis for what they have done in the holy land”. Well, reality check, It didn’t happen by windging that the arabs didn’t like them and wanted to kill them It happened by kicking ass. It happened by constructive effort and it happened because people stuck together. There’s a lesson here for those who would learn.

    So, Ladismith is a microcosm, Oudtshoorn, a little bigger. Perhaps the same self loathing doesn’t happen in a town as it does in a dorp, but the problems are exactly the same!

    So, I hope this little “drosher” will elicite some dialoge and maybe, just maybe, get us to pull together.

  3. There is no doubt in my mind that what transpired here amounts to fraud and I am of the opinion that the municipality must lay criminal charges against the people involved. Why do you have to wait for that stupid Swartlandse burgemeester (Bredell) to decide whether to lay a charge of fraud against all the DA councillors and that Cope fool. If this was the ANC that is at fault Zille would have been at Caledon Square a long time ago. Hoekom is die ANC so fokken treurig?

  4. Oo, soo, Bredell gaan binne n week n besluit maak ! Haa haa haaa, n besluit maak ?? Vir sommige politici neem dit selfs meer tyd om te besluit of hul vir die week wil gaan werk, of hoe ?

    Het Bredell en Theunsie al bedank, …..of besluit hulle nog ?????

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