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'ANC doesn’t pay individuals’ legal fees'

The ANC would not confirm whether it funded Floyd Shivambu's Equality Court battle.

Floyd Shivambu is seen at a news conference held by expelled ANCYL leader Julius Malema in Sandton on Tuesday, 18 September 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC on Sunday said it did not pay legal fees for individuals within the party, but it would not confirm whether it funded former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) spokesperson Floyd Shivambu's Equality Court battle with Independent Newspapers.

Journalist Carien du Plessis brought hate speech charges against Shivambu after an SMS exchange between them in May 2010.

In the SMS, Shivambu insinuated the journalist was "stupid" and called her a "white bitch".

The ANC's comment follows an apology by the Sunday Independent newspaper today, for a report in which it said ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa had paid Shivambu's legal fees.

In the apology, the newspaper said it had emerged that the money was paid by the ANC itself, not Phosa.

In June, the treasurer-general was quoted in the media as having said the ANC had paid a punitive costs award against Shivambu, arising from the hate speech case.

A settlement reached between Shivambu and du Plessis stated he would pay the taxed party and costs incurred by du Plessis in the matter which the ANC reportedly paid for.

This has raised the eyebrows of ANC national executive committee member Derek Hanekom, who has asked - on Twitter - what approval was obtained for the ANC to pay legal fees for a member whom it had laid disciplinary charges against.

Hanekom tweeted: "Mmm, one does wonder what approval was obtained for the ANC to pay legal fees for members the ANC laid charges against? Seems odd.Page 1, SI".

At the time of the court case, Shivambu had already been found guilty of contravening the mother body's constitution for his verbal abuse towards du Plessis and issuing a statement in his capacity as an ANCYL spokesperson about creating regime change in Botswana.

The NEC chairman has been unavailable to comment, but Khoza says the ANC will only pay for official ANC court matters and not those of its members.

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