Kwazizabantu distributes document containing distorted information

In June 2001, the leadership Mission Kwasizabantu released an official Statement, internationally, to various parties to explain why KSB and its founder Erlo Stegen made a court application in March 2001. The document has been drawn up by KSB’s advocate, founder of the South African based Christian Lawyers Association, Dieter Achtzehn, “on behalf of Mission KwaSizabantu which is based on (his) instructions and which expresses the opinion of the Mission.” Through this Statement, Erlo Stegen and the KSB leadership offer background relating to their decision to make an application as well as why they have withdrawn this court action against the 5 ex-members- Barney Mabaso, Trevor Dahl, Phungumusa Mtungwa, Matthias Lübke, and Bodo Stegen.

Many Christians in Africa, Europe, and beyond have been puzzled and perplexed by Mission KwaSizabantu’s Statement. Many have enquired about KSB’s claim within their document that the 5 Respondents have signed written statements undertaking to “stop their defamation.” The controversy centres on this claim that conveys that the five Respondents have admitted guilt. Yet, it is known that Barney Mabaso and the other Respondents have gone on public legal record in their affidavits denying every one of KSB’s accusations against them regarding defamation or the spreading of untrue statements concerning Erlo Stegen and his nephew Dieter Stegen.

Barney Mabaso and the other Respondents have denied these accusations and have expressed their innocence concerning the allegations. More than one has also stated their explicit beliefs that Mission KwaSizabantu’s court application is ill founded and vague and based on unsubstantiated allegations. To reinforce their affirmations of innocence, all five Respondents have indeed written statements declaring that they have no intention of defaming Erlo Stegen or Dieter Stegen. They go further and affirm that, just as they have not defamed or spoken untruths, to further emphasise their innocence of the allegations, they undertake not to defame Erlo Stegen and Dieter Stegen. These undertakings are statements in affirmation of their innocence, not admissions of prior guilt or agreements to not further defame the Applicants.

A comparison of KSB’s Statement with the affidavits of the 5 Respondents reveals serious inconsistencies between KSB’s claims of what the five men have said and what the Respondents have actually written in their affidavits.

For example, KSB, in citing examples of the written undertakings of the 5 men, KSB omits crucial information. They report in their Statement:

“Barney Mabaso, in his affidavit, stated that ‘… and undertake not to make any statements of the nature and in terms set out in paragraph 34 of the Third Applicant’s affidavit.'”

Whereas Mabaso’s complete statement, from which comes this quoted sentence fragment, reads:

“I have not defamed the Second Applicant, do not intend doing so and undertake not to make any statements of the nature and in the terms set out in paragraph 34 of the Third Applicant’s (Erlo Stegen’s) affidavit.”

The same occurs when KSB quotes Phangumusa Mabaso:

“Phangumusa Mntungwa stated in his affidavit:

‘… I have no intention to and undertake not to make any statements of the nature or in the terms set out in paragraph 34 of the Applicant’s affidavit.’

Whereas the complete statement from which comes this quoted sentence fragment reads:

“I have not defamed the Second Applicant, do not intend doing so and undertake not to make any statements of the nature and in the terms set out in paragraph 34 of the Third Applicant’s (Erlo Stegen’s) affidavit.”

Similar omissions of crucial information also occur with quotations of the undertakings Bodo Stegen, Matthias Lübke, and Trevor Dahl.

In reality, KSB has not received any written undertakings from the 5 men to “stop their defamation.” The Respondents have not admitted they have defamed Dieter Stegen, Erlo Stegen, etc. Furthermore they have denied all of KSB’s accusations that they have done so.

As KSB’s concluding statement stands, it conveys that the men have undertaken to stop their defamation, which implies, they concede to KSB, admit guilt of the accusations, yet agree not to make any further untrue and defamatory statements (as in paragraph 33-34 of Erlo Stegen’s affidavit).

This is a gross misrepresentation of the Respondents affidavits. The five respondents have made no written undertaking to stop any actions whatsoever. It is clear that they cannot undertake to stop defamatory behaviour they deny in the first place, to have ever engaged in.

A close look at KSB’s statement warrants the reader to ask that if KSB:

A. first restates its accusations against the Respondents and conveys that it is held as a fact that the Respondents are guilty of defamation and the spreading of lies,

B. secondly, quotes only part of the Respondents statements (their undertakings not to defame), but does not quote or cite that all the Respondents have denied all of KSB’s accusations against them.

C. and thirdly, concludes its Statement with an untrue claim that the 5 Respondents have “written undertakings / to stop their defamation,” when they have not admitted to having defamed in the first place,”

Then two crucial questions confront readers of KSB’s Statement:

1. Has the Mission assembled this statement incompetently with poor understanding of the 5 Respondents’ documents and thus have negligently omitted crucial information and made inaccurate references to and claims regarding the 5 Respondents affidavits?

2. Or, has the Mission knowingly and strategically omitted information contained in the 5 Respondents’ affidavits to support the false information contained in their concluding claim that that the 5 Respondents have “written undertakings / to stop their defamation,” when they have not admitted to having defamed in the first place. Has the Mission KwaSizabantu done this with the intent of deceiving the reader into believing the 5 Respondents have admitted guilt?”

Whether it is out of incompetence or calculated omission or twisting of the information contained in the 5 Respondents’ affidavits, Mission KwaSizabantu has very seriously distorted the words and positions of Barney Mabaso, Phangumusa Mtungwa, Trevor Dahl, Bodo Stegen, and Matthias Lübke. All readers of the STATEMENT OF MISSION KWASIZABANTU IN RESPECT OF OUR RECENT LITIGATION should thus be cautioned as to the reliability and accuracy of the KSB Statement’s contents. Furthermore, the credibility of Mission KwaSizabantu leadership as it pertains to this Statement should be called into question. The reader thus should take note of the errors in KSB’s document and be warned of the possibility of wrongful intent being involved in KSB’s distribution of their Statement.