Manuel And EFF Are Expected In Court Over R500 000 Defamation Case

In a statement published on March 27, the EFF had claimed that Kieswetter was a "dodgy character" and a relative and former business associate of Manuel's.

Manuel And EFF Are Expected In Court Over R500 000 Defamation Case - Surge Zirc SA
Since 2016, hundreds of supporters of the hard-left Economic Freedom Fighters party live in an informal settlement in Polokwane known as Juju Valley. Named after the EFF leader Julius Malema, residents do not have to pay rent but have to get by wi… / Photo file: Screengrab

Trevor Manuel and the Economic Freedom Fighters lawyers will meet in Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday for the start of Manuel’s R500 000 defamation case against the Economic Freedom Fighters.

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Trevor Manuel had approached the court in April after the EFF refused to retract a statement accusing him of nepotism in the process that led to the appointment of Edward Kieswetter as the new commissioner of the SA Revenue Service.

The respondents are listed as the EFF, its leader Julius Malema and its spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Manuel was the head of a selection panel that interviewed candidates for the post of commissioner. The tax agency had been without a permanent head since Tom Moyane was suspended and later fired in 2018. The panel made recommendations, but was not involved in Kieswetter’s final selection.

In a statement published on March 27, the EFF had claimed that Kieswetter was a “dodgy character” and a relative and former business associate of Manuel’s.

The party also said the new commissioner had been “secretly chosen”. Manuel at the time said the characterisation was “libellous” and “racist’.

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Manuel wants the court to order that the EFF remove the statement from all their platforms, make an apology and pay damages of R500 000 or an amount determined by the court, as well as Manuel’s legal costs. He has said the money would be donated to a worthy cause.

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