Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip’s wife testified in the Port Elizabeth Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday that he could not have bribed a former DA activist when she claimed he did – because he was out of town at the time.
Former DA member Nontuthuzelo Jack is facing a charge of criminal defamation after claiming that Trollip had offered her a bribe in exchange for digging up dirt on the DA’s provincial chairwoman, Veliswa Mvenya during the lead-up to the 2016 municipal elections.
On Tuesday, Trollip’s wife Janine Trollip and DA federal chairman James Selfe both testified in court that it was not possible for Trollip to be at the Motherwell Police Station on March 20, 2016 – which Jack alleged was the meeting spot for the alleged bride – because he was out of town.
Jack alleged Trollip called her twice, once at 7am and again at 9am, to arrange the meeting spot for the alleged bribe to take place.
But cellphone records for Jack, submitted to court as evidence, show she did not receive any calls that morning. Trollip’s records show he had not made any calls that morning.
Janine, testified on Tuesday that it would have been impossible for him to be at the meeting spot as they were attending a church service in Port Alfred at the time. A photograph of Trollip at the service was also submitted as evidence.
“He was at my side the entire Saturday and Sunday,” she said.
The couple were in Port Alfred for the weekend to attend a cricket tournament Janine’s son was playing in.
Selfe, who had received Jack’s affidavit outlining the allegations via e-mail, said the allegations were false.
“What was perplexing at that stage was that Athol Trollip wasn’t in Port Elizabeth at all [at the time of the alleged meeting],” he said.
After the state closed its case, defense advocate Eric Skepe said he intended to recall Trollip to testify but would only do so after consulting with a witness who was out of town.
He asked for the matter to be postponed to July 12 for him to consult.