Lobatse Member of Parliament aspirant Thapelo Matsheka has slapped Tefo Seetso of Woodhall in Lobatse with a P250, 000 lawsuit.
A few weeks ago, a video of Seetso tearing down posters bearing the picture of Matsheka at the Woodhall shops in Lobatse trended on social media. In the video, Seetso can be heard cussing what he refers to as corrupt politicians. The lawsuit letter, which this publication is in possession of, reads in part:
“Apart from the undoubtedly slanderous statement you uttered of and concerning him, taken within prevailing political atmosphere of election campaigning, the added import of your utterances is that our client: is corrupt, lacks moral fibre and is not fit to be elected member of parliament or to hold any public office.” The letter further states that Matsheka’s instructions are that his name has been smeared and that it would be almost impossible to repair the damage occasioned to him having regard to the wide coverage of the video clip.
“By the sheer size of Facebook subscribers both locally and internationally, and the prevailing election period during which particular attention to political campaigns and candidates is heightened, it is not hard to fathom the effect your slanderous actions have had and will continue to have on our client’s dignity as an ordinary member of the public and also as an aspirant to political office.”
The letter also stipulates that Seetso remove and delete the video clip from all social media platforms. He is also asked to publish an unconditional apology and retraction of the said defamatory recording.
In an interview Seetso told The Midweek Sun that he was still looking for a lawyer. He said he had torn down the posters and recorded the video “to get attention.” He said it was his freedom of expression. He also argued that he had not mentioned Matsheka’s name, who he said wanted to use him as a scapegoat, should he lose elections.
“The way things are, should he lose, he would claim that I contributed to his loss through defaming him as he claims. If at all he has a good name, then it would not be easily tarnished. He should just focus on his campaign,” he said.
He said he was still thinking about whether he would apologise or not. He also queried how Matsheka and his lawyers had reached the amount demanded. Seetso, who was once aligned with the BDP but was never a registered member, confirmed that he would be standing as an independent council candidate in Woodhall.
He said he had abandoned BDP because they were reluctant to register him. “I tried but failed. I think there are people within the party structures who saw me as a threat,” he said. Whatever the case, it is a punishable offence to destroy anyone’s political campaign material. IEC spokesperson Osupile Maroba, who said the Matsheka-Seetso case was the first of its kind, said anyone found guilty would dance to the music.
He made reference to the Electoral Act. He said if someone was reported to them, they would assist them and they would be handed over to the police who enforce laws. “If someone is incriminated in defacing political campaign material, they will be charged. As the IEC we do not enforce the laws but we are willing to assist with the procedure of bringing someone to book.” (Visit The Midweek Sun facebook page to see the video in question).