A woman who accused lawyer and social media activist Tumi Sole of raping her in a Durban hotel room and giving her HIV has issued a public apology, calling her claims false and defamatory.
Tinah Mashiloane issued the apology on social media following allegations that emerged as part of the outing of alleged sex offenders on Twitter as part of the #AmINext movement following high-profile acts of violence against women in recent weeks.
"The allegations following on several other messages that I had sent to [Sole] in which I had been making threats against him and his family since August 1, 2019. I also created a fake account under Lerato Motsoeneng [@leratoMotsoene8] and repeated these false and defamatory allegations that I made against Mr Sole, "her apology read.
She received a lawyer's letter on September 2, and initially denied she had been the one who posted the allegations.
"In this regard, this letter serves as my official admission that I was the one who posted the false and defamatory allegations on @ HelpSurvivers2, and I would like to take this opportunity to profusely apologize to Mr Tumi Sole, his entire family, #CountryDuty , the directors of #CountryDuty and the members and supporters of #CountryDuty for the pain and suffering that I have caused everyone.
"I was never at a Durban hotel with [Sole] nor was I ever raped by him. "
– Tinah Mashiloane (@MissTinah_M) September 23, 2019
Mashiloane wrote she had realized her actions "might have derailed some of the necessary work that [Sole] and #CountryDuty have been involved in as part of their contributions to the fight against GBV [gender-based violence] and femicide ".
"To this end, I would like to apologize to all South Africans for my actions and undertake to go for counseling and refrain from any further false and defamatory accusations against [Sole] or #CountryDuty.
"I hope South Africans find it in their hearts to forgive me."
The accuser, unknown at the time, had written this about Sole: "Met in Durban. He was there on business. I liked him yes. He invited me to his hotel room. Had drinks. Forced himself on me. I kept saying no He was so rough with me. He eventually managed to penetrate me. Now I'm taking ARVs because of a selfish, self-absorbed man. I want him to trend until his wife sees this. And I wish for the same to happen to his children Mr Country Duty yamasimba [sic]. "
Sole, at the time, tweeted he had noted the allegations and posted a letter from his attorneys.
"I'm aware of the tweets making the rounds and in reference to me and #CountryDuty. I am pursuing the matter through legal channels. Herewith, a letter from my attorneys below," he said. "[I’m] not going to entertain this further. "
The cease and desist letter, addressed to the accuser whose name had been blacked out, said Sole had been receiving threatening emails from the person since August 1, 2019.
"Our client has instructed us that since August 1, 2019, you have been sending him violent and threatening phone messages about ruining his public and private life.
"You have also made allegations that you contracted HIV from him and will disseminate this allegation into the public domain."
Some of the email quotes in the letter read, "I want my money b ** ch. Don't drive me nuts", as well as "You're messing with someone who could potentially destroy you".
The letter further stated the person requested money from Sole in a bid to "suppress [them] from carrying out these threats ". It also described this as extortion.
The allegations appeared on the Twitter account @ HelpSurvivors2.
The document describes the claims as "false, baseless and slanderous in an attempt to bring our client's name into disrepute …"
It calls on the accuser to "cease and desist from directly or indirectly making defamatory remarks about our client, including defamatory and slanderous remarks".
Sole wanted the accuser to stop publishing statements on social media about him, requesting the @ HSurvivors2 account to remove the tweets.
On Monday, Sole declined to comment.
– Compiled by Tammy Petersen