ANC heavyweight Mathews Phosa on Friday won a legal battle with Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza in the latest development in the spy report saga.
Mabuza filed the suit claiming that Phosa had fabricated the report that said Mabuza was an apartheid security police spy and fed them information on senior ANC leaders.
The high court in Pretoria dismissed Mabuza’s R10-million defamation claim (later dropped to R1-million and a public apology)‚ saying that on a balance of probabilities‚ Mabuza had failed to convince the court that Phosa was the author of the spy report.
“Justice has prevailed‚ I have all along said I am innocent‚” Phosa told Times Live on Friday afternoon. “I knew all along that Mabuza was lying through his teeth. The truth has prevailed as well. I have no intention to sue him and the rest of them‚ because I think they’re a bunch of fools.”
Judge Bill Prinsloo found that Phosa’s version of events was credible‚ and that he had given the report to ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte under honourable circumstances.
The veracity of the spy report itself was also brought into question‚ when the court heard evidence from a former security police operator that the style and format was not in line with the standards of the time.
Prinsloo was scathing in his judgment of the shenanigans of Phosa’s former butler‚ Jan Venter‚ who first said in an affidavit that Phosa and a business associate had “cooked up” the spy report on the veranda of his White River home‚ with the intention of destroying Mabuza.
“I have found that Venter’s evidence‚ on which the plaintiff [Mabuza] relies‚ is of a particularly poor nature and Venter‚ as a self-confessed liar‚ has no credibility. The defendant [Phosa] on the other hand‚ as I have said‚ impressed me as a good and credible witness‚” Prinsloo said.
“I find that the plaintiff has failed to discharge the onus of proving that the defendant created the spy report‚ so that the action falls to be dimissed‚” said Prinsloo.
He ordered Mabuza pay costs.