Health MEC demands apology from ‘fake’ editor

Ekurhuleni ANC member Solomon Ramalobela, who is  accused of posing as the editor of a fake newspaper to spread propaganda against political opponents, has  received a letter of demand from Gauteng health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, who is also the Gauteng ANC deputy chairperson and member of the ANC Women’s League national executive committee, to apologise for his false allegations.

Nkomo-Ralehoko has also threatened to press criminal charges  against Ramalobela, for trying to extort her of R10 000 for making the story disappear.

This he allegedly did before  he published in his “publication”, titled Politicburo, claims on social media that Budeli had a romantic relationship with Nkomo-Ralehoko. He allegedly claimed the two had travelled to Dubai on a romantic getaway and that Budeli benefited from tenders advertised by the Gauteng health department.

According to Ian Levitt Attorneys’ correspondence dated November 7, Ramalobela received Nkomo-Ralehoko’s first letter of demand on November 4, after which he apologised. But the apology was not bona fide.

“This ‘apology’ is unacceptable, compounds the situation and was obviously made in a feeble attempt to avoid the heavy sanctions our client seeks against you within the ANC structures,” wrote lawyer Janyde Cupido.

Cupido said Nkomo-Ralehoko also complained that Ramalobela acted fraudulently in a number of aspects relating to the alleged postings, which were the subject of the November 3 correspondence.

It was alleged that Ramalobela tried to solicit a bribe from Nkomo-Ralehoko on the basis that he was working with other people who had “dangerous” information regarding her. “You even admitted to our client that you were paid the sum of R10 000 to publish the false postings referred to above and that you wanted payment from our client, not only for you but for ‘the others; who you are working together with to extort our client.”

Cupido warned Ramalobela that, on conviction, fraud and extortion often carry multi-year sentences behind bars.

“We hereby make it abundantly clear that our client will not cower before you or your co-conspirators; she has nothing to hide, is prepared to sit before any structure or committee to deal with your or anyone else’s allegations, and will not only be referring your criminal conduct to the internal structures of the ANC but to the South African Police Services as well.”

Cupido stated that Ramalobela made defamatory statements deliberately for political gain. She demanded that a proper apology be sent to all media houses with which Ramalobela communicated the original posts.

On Thursday, Ramalobela defended his publication.

He said Budeli and Nkomo-Ralehoko, through their lawyers, imposed a bogus status on the publication because it was not registered with the press ombudsman”.

“I have consistently expressed that we have an internal independent ombudsman with the authority to address complaints relating to the content we publish. In my individual professional capacity, I have not made any claims against Budeli or Nkomo-Ralehoko. I simply shared a post and made a comment that, should it be true, law enforcement should investigate.”

The claim Nkomo-Ralehoko made through her lawyers that he sought a bribe from her had a drastic impact on his reputation.

“Therefore, I have afforded her the opportunity to prove this allegation in a court of law, so I can clear my name.”

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