The case between a top businessperson from North West, who claims that Norma Mngoma caused more than R400 000 worth of damage to his luxury vehicle, is headed for trial in the Pretoria High Court.
This after Mngoma, the estranged wife of former finance minister Malusi Gigaba, denied in her affidavit that she had damaged his friend’s luxury Mercedes Benz. The vehicle was at the centre of her dramatic arrest three years ago during her separation from Gigaba.
In the application dated March 17 2023, was filed by entrepreneur Thapelo Tshepe’s lawyers, who applied for a two-day trial in the high court.
The case followed the much-publicised arrest of Mngoma in July 2020 on malicious damage to property and crimen injuria charges after she allegedly damaged Tshepe’s Mercedes Benz G-Wagon SUV and insulted him in a WhatsApp message.
The National Prosecuting Authority subsequently withdrew the charges in March 2021 after the high court ruled that her arrest was unlawful.
However, Tshepe pursued a civil case against Mngoma when, in August 2021, he sought a court order compelling her to pay R449 864.88 for the damage to his car.
“The defendant [Mngoma] damaged the motor vehicle by scratching the body and paint of the car, breaking the rear and front lights of the car … The aforementioned motor vehicle was at relevant and material times registered under the plaintiff [Tshepe] and owned by the plaintiff and the plaintiff is the bona fide possessor of the motor vehicle,” reads the court papers.
However, in her plea Mngoma denied that she caused the damage to the luxury vehicle and said the burden of proof was with Tshepe.
In the event that the honourable court finds that the defendant’s conduct was unlawful and or wrongful, which is still denied, then in that event the defendant denies that her conduct caused the damage to the value of R449 864.88
“Therefore, the defendant seeks that the plaintiff’s claim be dismissed with costs,” reads the papers.
According to the pre-trial minutes, the parties agreed that Tshepe would furnish Mngoma with “a list of admissions” so that she could “apply her mind and respond”.
“The court has to determine both merits and quantum, in particular, whether the defendant is liable for the damage to the motor vehicle as alleged and, if so, what is a fair and reasonable amount to restore the motor vehicle to its pre-damage condition value,” the papers state.
The pre-trial document said the parties had not reached any agreement regarding the case.
“The plaintiff has served and filed his discovery affidavit. The defendant was requested to indicate when she will file her discovery affidavit.
“The parties have not been able to settle the matter at this stage. However, the practice manual requires the parties to endeavour to settle the merits at the initial pre-trial conference which is recommended to be held after discovery,” read the pre-trial minutes.
The papers also reveal that Tshepe intends to bring “three witnesses and reserves his right to call additional witnesses should it be necessary”.
“The defendant intends to call two witnesses and reserves her rights as to the total number of witnesses she intends calling…
The papers read:
The defendant’s attorney indicated that the defendant is not intending to call any expert witness and reserves the right to do so if a need arises
Yesterday, Tshepe’s lawyer Norman Montjane, said: “The matter is ready for hearing and we held a pre-trial in preparation for the trial.
“The date was applied for, but has not [yet been] allocated.
“We hope to receive a trial date soon. On the prospects of success, we are positive.
The damages to the car were done by the defendant and our client insists that she knew who the car belonged to.”
Mngoma had not commented at the time of publishing.