Shaka Sisulu to create defamation fund after being awarded R3m in ANC 'war room' case

Entrepreneur and activist Shaka Sisulu is planning to set up a "defamation fund" after being awarded R3m in a defamation case against Sihle Bolani and her communications company.

He took action against Bolani after she accused him of being one of the people who spearheaded a covert operation to discredit opposition parties.

Sisulu announced his plans on Twitter after taking a year-long hiatus from his social media account. 

#TheDefamationFundZA would apparently take on one case a month to help someone who has been defamed on social media and who cannot afford to repair their reputation.

He planned to use his payout to fund the legal fees and cost of investigations needed in these cases.

"This fund is being underwritten by myself in the event that not all proceeds are collected. The fund is here to stay and fight for you," he stated on his website.

Reports were 'false, exaggerated'

Bolani had initially gone to court after alleging the ANC owed her R2.2m for work she had done on a R50m campaign during the 2016 local government elections.

Bolani's claims around the operation, dubbed the "War Room", and later the "Media Advisory Team", were reported on extensively by amaBhungane.

In January last year, Sisulu said he had volunteered his time to the ANC for the past 18 years but insisted he abided by election regulations and used his own resources.

"These reports are inherently false, exaggerated and no doubt intended to discredit, in part my reputation, and most significantly the name of the African National Congress," Sisulu said at the time.

WATCH EXCLUSIVE: Shaka Sisulu speaks out on the "war room" election mandate

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg later dismissed with costs Bolani's application for summary judgment.

City Press reported that Sisulu took legal action against Bolani last February because he believed her suggestions that he was unprofessional had ruined his reputation.

Money not yet paid

The High Court subsequently granted a default judgment against Bolani and Sihle Bolani Communications Pty (Ltd) this year.

The court ordered in February that she pay R3m, as well as an interest of 9% per annum on that amount from the day the summons was served to the date of payment.

Sisulu's lawyer Katlego Mmuoe told News24 on Monday that a default judgment was granted because Bolani did not defend herself.

He said the money had not yet been paid over and that legal costs were also still owed to them from the initial court case. 

Bolani said on Monday afternoon that she did not have a comment at this time.