Herman Mashaba dares DA MP to take him to court over Mmusi Maimane 'leak'
Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba is daring DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis to take him to court over claims that he attempted to leak a disparaging story about Mmusi Maimane.
Mashaba alleged that Hill-Lewis approached a journalist in December 2019 with a story in order to derail talks between himself and Maimane about forming a new political organisation.
The claim is made in a book written by Mashaba’s former chief of staff Michael Beaumont on his tenure as mayor of the country’s economic hub.
“The journalist called me with concern of what the hell was going on with the DA and that Geordin Hill-Lewis had insulted her as a journalist and she doesn’t work with that kind of nonsense,” Mashaba said this week, standing by his claim.
“She said this guy called her telling her to publish a story on Mmusi’s personal life. So she says to Geordin, ‘I don’t deal with such gossip and I am disappointed in you as a party because you just came from a review report which expressed an issue around leaking of information. Now you guys have taken over the DA and continuing with your leaks and you want to use us as journalists to promote your nonsense.’
“She said, ‘Forget about me and one thing I can tell you, go give it to another journalist who is interested. I will write about this discussion that I just had with you.’"
Hill-Lewis has instructed his lawyers to act against Beaumont for the allegation which he said was a blatant lie.
“The allegation in Michael’s book is presented anonymously, without any supporting evidence, and without ever having put it to me for response. It is a false corridor rumour, a nasty little lie that I can’t let stand,” the MP and former chief of staff to Maimane said this week.
Mashaba said the journalist in question would be willing to vouch for his version of events in court.
“What I am telling you is facts, that is why I want him to go to court because I will bring the journalist. She will be part of the court proceedings. The reason she called me is because she felt insulted by the DA and Geordin. ”
Beaumont stands by the claim, as told to him by Mashaba.
“When you look at the information that was being leaked it was information that only insiders would possibly have. I spent many years in the DA, this is not information that the federal executive would know,” he said.
“This is information that only people who work exceedingly closely with Mmusi would have access to. I really think the amount of people who would have access to that information would be four or five at most. So when that information came forward from that journalist that was engaging Herman it kind of proved that narrative.”