Manyi's ATM party to sue church council for R22m over 'lies'

28 June 2019 - 16:07
By Nonkululeko Njilo
Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi
Image: Gallo Images Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi

Mzanele Manyi's African Transformation Movement (ATM) is suing the former secretary-general of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ, Buyisile Ngqulwana, for R22m.

This is following Ngqulwana's claims that former president Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule had helped in the formation of the party.

Manyi on Friday shared a legal letter addressed to Ngqulwana, demanding that he pay the party R22m it allegedly lost following the claims.

"The false statements you have uttered are to the effect that former president Jacob Zuma and ANC general secretary [Magashule] assisted in [the] formation of the ATM, our client. The same false and defamatory statements are contained in your affidavit filed in support of an application before the Electoral Court," the letter read.

The party, which contested the 2019 general election and secured only two seats in parliament, said it could have performed better had such comments not been made.

"As a result, our client won fewer seats than it would have had you not deceived the general public and/or voters by your statements," read part of the letter.

It was previously reported that Ngqulwana placed Zuma and Magashule at the centre of the formation of the ATM.

In an affidavit, Ngqulwana previously detailed consultation sessions held with Zuma at his Nkandla home, and allegedly with Magashule at Luthuli House, to discuss the formation of an alternative party.

The affidavit was drawn up in support of an urgent application by the church group to the Electoral Court to challenge both the registration of the ATM as a political party and its intention to contest the election.

Attempts to reach Ngqulwana were unsuccessful at the time of publishing. He was given at least 20 days to pay the R22m.