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Sbusiso Banda: I was ambushed by e.tv

Written by on May 13, 2024

Revered gospel artist Sbusiso Banda has applied for an urgent interdict in the Joburg High Court to gag e.tv from airing a show in which the station accuses him of being a fraudster and a scammer.

In the affidavit that he filed in court a fortnight ago, Banda, a pastor and fibre entrepreneur, said he received an invite from e.tv staffers on 25 March this year to come for a recorded, in-studio interview about his career as a musician and a pastor.

On 28 March, he said, he went to e.tv studios in Hyde Park for the interview after picking up his minor daughter from school in Pretoria.

He said his daughter remained in the motor vehicle at the parking bays when he went inside the studios to be interviewed.

“The interview started off well, with questions that were linked to the brief given to me prior. However, the interview soon diverted off script into my life and activities as a businessman,” he said.

He said the interviewer specifically asked him about sub-contractors Hendrik Smith and Nevil Williams, who worked with Banda’s fibre company Tehi Projects.

“The two individuals had apparently come forward to complain that Tehi Projects had not paid them for work done. I was told by the interviewer, who introduced herself as Devi, that I am a scammer and a fraudster,” read the affidavit.

He said it was at this juncture that he realised that, contrary to the invitation, the interview was not about his career as a musician and/or pastor.

“I had in fact been ambushed into a recorded TV show to account for my business activities and the sub-contractors that had come out to say I owed them money.

“I generally have no problem discussing matters pertaining to my business interests, including with the media, especially when allegations of damaging nature have been put forth and require my side of the story.

“However, where such is required of me, it is only fair that I should be treated with dignity, and I should be told prior to the interview what allegations have been levelled against me or entities associated with me, so that I can choose whether or not I want to be interviewed,” he stated in the affidavit.

He said that as he was caught off guard, he objected to being interviewed and walked off the set.

“The respondent’s crew, however, pursued me with cameras, even off-set to the parking bays and to my motor vehicle, where my minor, who has nothing to do with all this, was waiting. In pursuit and in the presence of my daughter, the interviewer referred to me as a scammer and a fraudster,” he said.

This, he said, humiliated and hurt him and his daughter.

“My daughter even asked whether I am a criminal.”

Banda confirmed that there was indeed a dispute between Smith and his company over money. Smith requested payment for work his company had not authorised, he said.

“The issue between Tehi Projects and Smith clearly does not amount to fraud but to normal disputes over payment that occur in the day-to-day running of businesses,” read the affidavit.

He also confirmed that there was a dispute between Williams and Tehi Projects and that the sub-contractor did not receive payment for the completed work because the clergyman’s entity was still awaiting payment from the client.

“Again, in my humble submission, I cannot be characterised as a fraudster because of this dispute,” read the affidavit.

Banda said after the ill-fated interview, his lawyers wrote a letter to e.tv and requested a written undertaking that it would not air the interview or snippets thereof for any purpose.

He said e.tv staffers sent him a list of questions to answer but he refused to do so, saying this was akin to disclosing commercially sensitive information about his company to the station.

Banda said they responded by saying they would broadcast the interview.

“The incomplete aborted interview of 28 March 2024, contains a number of unverified and false allegations against me, including a serious allegation that I am a fraudster and a scammer.

“The allegation that I am a fraudster is patently false, derogatory, and defamatory, as I have never been convicted of fraud and would have explained the same had the first respondent cared to verify with me or relevant authorities.

“In the circumstances, I have no option but to urgently seek an interdict from the above honourable court as the first respondent, despite a number of engagements with my attorneys, refuses to hear my side of the story,” read the affidavit.

The matter was to be heard on 7 May.

The publication couldn’t establish if the matter was heard at the time of publishing.


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