EFF v Manuel – round one to Trevor

Staff Writer | May 31, 2019
The South Gauteng High Court has found that comments made by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Julius Malema about former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel were defamatory and unlawful.

The EFF and Malema were ordered yesterday to remove defamatory and unlawful comments about Manuel from all media platforms within 24 hours.

Manuel instituted the claim after the EFF refused to apologise for accusing him of nepotism in the process that led to the appointment of Edward Kieswetter as the new commissioner of the SA Revenue Service. 

Manuel was the head of the selection panel, appointed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, tasked with interviewing prospective candidates.

The EFF had said publicly that Kieswetter was a relative of Manuel's and that the two had a close business relationship, among other things. The party does not appear to have presented evidence to back up the claim. Manuel described the EFF's claims as ‘racist’ and ‘libellous’. 

When advised of the legal action, EFF spokesperson and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi described Manuel as a ‘Bully’, vowing that he would not ‘silence’ them.

However, the court yesterday declared that the EFF’s publication of the comment was and continues to be unlawful. In addition to having to remove the comments from all media platforms within 24 hours, the court ordered the party to publish a notice on all its media platforms, within 24 hours, in which it must ‘unconditionally retract and apologise for the allegations made about the applicant in the statement’. 

The court also awarded Manuel R500 000 in damages and ordered the EFF and Malema to pay his legal costs.

 

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The EFF says it intends to appeal the ruling.

 

 

 

 


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