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Wife tells court not possible Trollip bribed Jack, Bobani also attends hearing

By Afikile Lugunya - May 15, 2018
Wife tells court not possible Trollip bribed Jack, Bobani also attends hearing

The case of defamation against a former Democratic Alliance (DA) activist, Nontuthuzelo Jack, was postponed to the 12th July due to the absence of defence witnesses.

Jack is accused of criminal defamation after she claimed that Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, offered her a R5 000 bribe to dig up dirt on former DA Eastern Cape provincial chairperson, Veliswa Mvenya, ahead of the 2016 Local Government Elections.

Speaking outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court, Trollip expressed his disappointment that the case had been postponed again.

“I’m really frustrated because it’s been two years now where my reputation was impugned and the party’s reputation was in question, which led to an investigation by James Selfe because the allegations that were made against me were very serious.

“On the balance of the enquiry it is unclear if what was happening is the truth therefore Selfe is the one, who suggested that I lay criminal charges, which I did," he said.

“Politicians have their names impugned all the time, but when somebody implies that you have committed fraud that is something that needs to be defended because my reputation and my political party are very important to me."

He added that he has been to court over the matter on four occasions already.

Trollip also pointed out the presence of his former Deputy, United Democratic Movement (UDM) Regional Leader, Mongameli Bobani, at the court.

“It’s quite curious because the only explanation must be that he assumes the enemy of my enemy is my friend," he said.

“I saw him interacting with Mrs Jack, her family and her legal representative, which is very irregular and makes me even believe more that the intentions of that headline were to besmirch me and question my reputation and Mr Bobani has aligned himself to that political smear campaign."

In response, Bobani said that it is strange how a person can wake up in the morning and throw such serious allegations.

Bobani said that he was at the court out of interest about the outcome of the case “because there’s quite a number of DA members, who have been accused of similar cases, which were true".

Trollip's wife, Janine, and DA Federal Chairman, James Selfe, testified in court as Trollip’s witnesses.

Selfe told the court that he investigated the allegations against Trollip after he got an affidavit from Jack, but he dismissed them because they were not strong enough.

He also told the court that he spoke to 12 people, who all defended Trollip. Current Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality MMC for Human Settlements, Nqaba Bhanga, was one of those people.

Coincidentally, Selfe testified that he had met Trollip in the same month that the allegations were made during a visit to the DA Port Elizabeth offices.

He also revealed in court that he spoke to Mrs Jack while he was conducting his investigations and asked her to explain how Trollip could be in two places at the same time.

On the day, Jack alleged that she met with Trollip to receive the bribe, Janine testified that he was with her in Port Alfred for their son’s cricket match.

Janine also provided photos to the court which the couple allegedly took while in Port Alfred.

"He was by my side the whole time,” she said.

It was brought in the court's attention that two numbers that showed up on Jack’s call history were not Trollip's. Janine said that Trollip has only one cellphone and one phone number.

She revealed that she has been with Trollip for about four years now and has never used an other numbers to contact him, which makes it very unlikely that the numbers in Jack's call log belong to him.

The defence, represented by Adv. Eric Skepe, didn’t have their witnesses ready and asked Magistrate Phumla Sibiya to postpone the case to the 12th of July.