Carlisle sues Chairman of Residents’ Association of Hout Bay over Chapman’s Peak

Carlisle sues over Chappies

Cape Argus, March 9 2012

Chappies protesters confront Transport MEC Robin Carlisle in January : Photo: Courtney Africa -

The Chapman’s Peak toll saga has taken a dramatic new turn – with Transport MEC Robin Carlisle now suing a Hout Bay activist for defamation.

Carlisle’s legal power-play is against Len Swimmer, chairman of the Residents’ Association of Hout Bay, around two allegations made in an interview with the Cape Argus a fortnight ago.

First, Swimmer alleged that when Carlisle negotiated a new deal with the toll company Entilini, he had persuaded the company to make certain concessions, in exchange for still allowing the company to erect its planned office block. Swimmer described the office block as a “sweetener” in the negotiations.

Second, he alleged that Murray & Roberts was a major DA donor. Swimmer did not say why this was important – but suggested the office block would offer “lovely views!” – and left it at that.

On Tuesday this week, Carlisle’s lawyers, Fairbridges, alleged in a legal letter of demand to Swimmer that the statements were “intended to mean that our client is guilty of conduct unbecoming to acceptable norms of personal behaviour”.

The law firm said Swimmer had accused Carlisle of being “corrupt”, “having no regard for due process and the rule of law”, and that “aspersions” had been cast on Carlisle’s integrity.

Carlisle demanded through his lawyers that Swimmer retract his comments in the Cape Argus.

Explaining in person today, Carlisle said Swimmer knew the allegations he had made had been untrue – and insisted that Swimmer had defamed him.

In response, Swimmer’s lawyers said Carlisle’s demand “lacks any basis in fact or law, and is accordingly declined”.

Speaking to the Cape Argus on Friday, Swimmer said: “I never accused Carlisle of corruption.

“I was merely repeating what a member of the DA in the provincial legislature had told me, that he could not understand why the company had been granted permission to build the office block, and all that he could think was that Carlisle was ‘handing them a cookie’, as part of the negotiations.

“Instead of being a bully, why does Carlisle simply not answer the allegations? They are not my allegations, I am just raising them. I have witnesses to what the MPL said, and can get affidavits.”

Carlisle said since receiving Swimmer’s lawyers’ letter, refusing to withdraw the statements, he had decided to proceed with suing for defamation.

Swimmer’s refusal to withdraw his comments echo his organisation’s position on the toll plaza and office block.

In the same interview with the Cape Argus a fortnight ago, Swimmer said they would even go up against Premier Helen Zille, if necessary.


1 comment to Carlisle sues Chairman of Residents’ Association of Hout Bay over Chapman’s Peak

  • pat reavell

    wel dun take them to high court.only the legal and free press garantee a free contry. dont forget even the da can be corupt. wel dun pat reavl.

Leave a Reply to pat reavell