Johannesburg- Television actress and comedian Lesego Tlhabi has been slapped with a R3-million lawsuit by businessman Sifiso Skenjana for calling him a “woman abuser” and “a rapist”.
Skenjana, an economist, has filed papers in the Joburg High Court in which he is demanding the whopping quantum from the thespian.
In the court papers, which we have seen, Skenjana said on October 18 last year the Copyright Coalition of South Africa (CCSA) invited him as a speaker for a discussion on “Post-Covid Economic Recovery for the Creative Industries”.
He said Tlhabi, who is the step-daughter of radio personality, Redi Tlhabi, took to Twitter and Instagram and criticised the organization and said it should not have invited him because he was a woman abuser.
Her tweets, whose copies were included in the papers, read as follows: “Nanka Hawes – rapist, Sifiso Skenjani-abuser, some of the others assault women.
“A whole chief abuser on the line-up. The fact that there is a whole crew of men dedicated to committing GBV is intense for me. Nanka is a rapist, Sifiso Skenjana abuses women … I could go on but I’ll leave it there for now.”
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Skenjana said Tlhabi’s statements were baseless, untrue, wrongful and defamatory as they were understood by the general public to mean that he was “a woman abuser”, “abusing his wife”, “perpetrator of gender-based violence”, “guilty of assault” and was “part of a group of friends that abuse and rape women”.
He said these statements by Tlhabi, who stars in the show Ubethina Wethu, embarrassed him as they caused other CCSA discussion panelists and would-be guest speakers to withdraw from the event.
He also said several media houses that had invited him to discuss the matter withdrew their invitations as a result of her utterances
“This was illustrated by the utterances made by one of the panelists on the CCSA discussion who expressed her disdain at being invited to speak in a panel that includes a well-known perpetrator of gender-based violence.
“In turn, this caused clients, television and radio directors to withdraw invitations to their shows and discussion platforms, which were already extended to the plaintiff,” read the papers.
He said the statements also caused his business associates, friends and family to distance themselves and was also forced to shut down his social media accounts, which he used to market himself.
Skenjana also said as a result of Tlhabi’s statements, he suffered damages to his reputation to the amount of R500 000 and injury to his dignity to the tune of R2.6-million.
He said he took the legal route after an unrepentant Tlhabi, a comedian best known for creating the character Coconut Kelz, ignored several letters his lawyers sent to her demanding that she retracts the statements and apologize publicly for defaming him.
Attempts to reach Tlhabi since last week drew a blank.
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