Media icon Dineo Ranaka’s pending divorce from her estranged husband Klaas James Pesha has taken an ugly turn after he slapped her with a half a million rand lawsuit for allegedly “fabricating” assault allegations against him.
Ranaka posted on her WhatsApp statuses and alleged in a podcast that Pesha had assaulted her in one of their domestic squabbles at their Tshwane matrimonial home last year.
The television icon said the incident happened seven months after they tied the knot, and she immediately dumped him as she couldn’t stand to be with a
perpetrator of gender-based violence.
Pesha, a businessman and engineer, rubbished Ranaka’s allegations and wants the Metro FM host to retract the claims and unconditionally apologise to him for “fabricating” the slanderous allegations, which have dented his reputation.
In papers filed in the Joburg High Court last week, Pesha said on or about October 14 last year, Ranaka posted several WhatsApp statuses on her mobile phone in which she claimed she would rather file for divorce than be bumped off by him.
In the court papers he included a screenshot of the messages, which read: “I would rather have a divorce decree that (sic) a premature death certificate. I cannot believe I married a man who has the FULL capability of killing me and making my death look like it’s my own doing.”
Pesha said he and Ranaka’s legion of fans, friends and family who were on her contact lists when she posted the messages understood the statements to mean that he was an abuser.
He also said the statements or statuses posted by Ranaka are false, malicious and defamatory and impugned his character, reputation and dignity.
He said Ranaka made the statements maliciously, knowing fully well they were false because he was never arrested and charged for assaulting her.
He said his lawyers wrote a letter of demand to Ranaka on October 14 last year and ordered her to retract her statuses and apologize to him, but she refused. This, he said, left him with no choice but to approach the court for relief.
In her plea, Ranaka insisted Pesha assaulted her. She said she wanted to open a case of assault against him but he threatened to press a countercharge.
“Upon the SAPS wanting to arrest the plaintiff, the plaintiff threatened to lay a criminal charge against the defendant in retaliation, with the effect that the defendant would be arrested and be prevented from caring for the parties’ small baby,” she said.
Speaking on the podcast, the former YFM presenter reiterated the claims and said when Pesha was assaulting her, she was carrying their three-month-old child in her hands.
She said she bit him on his arm in self- defense.
Ranaka has asked the court to dismiss Pesha’s application with costs.
According to the papers, the trial was delayed after Dineo’s lawyers, Burnett Attorneys, withdrew as attorneys of record on May 20.
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