Manyi's statements 'demeaning and humiliating'‚ court hears

13 September 2017 - 16:56 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Mzwanele Manyi. File photo.
Mzwanele Manyi. File photo.

The statements former government spin doctor Mzwanele Manyi made against billionaire entrepreneur Magdalena Wierzycka are "demeaning and humiliating"‚ the South Gauteng High Court heard on Wednesday.

"The statements demean‚ humiliate and create a hostile environment‚" argued Wierzycka's counsel Advocate Lwandile Sisilana in her application.

Wierzycka‚ the outspoken chief executive of Sygnia Asset Management and South Africa’s wealthiest woman‚ has filed an urgent application in the South Gauteng High Court seeking an order to declare statements Manyi made against her on Twitter and Facebook — including that she was guilty of economic “terrorism” — defamatory.

Sisilana argued that by associating Wierzycka with SACP leader Chris Hani's murderer Jalusz Walus‚ Manyi was inviting the public to view her as someone associated with murderers.

Sisilana said the case was not about Manyi's free speech‚ which he claims is being muzzled.

"Mr Manyi's following on Twitter has increased by 4‚000. He has not being crushed. What is the muzzling he is complaining about?" asked Sisilana.

He said calling Wierzycka racist was to lower her in the eyes of the public.

Manyi argues that his posts are not unlawful and that Wierzycka's case is not urgent and should be struck off the roll.

He had asked acting judge Fiona Dippenaar to recuse herself in the matter because Dippenaar and Wierzycka's counsel are from the group of chambers.

Dippenaar‚ however‚ dismissed Manyi's application on Wednesday.

Dippenaar found that Manyi had not illustrated that a "reasonable‚ objective and informed person would on the correct facts apprehend that the court will not bring an impartial mind to bear on the matter".

She ordered Manyi to pay the costs of the application.