The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) appeal bid against a defamation case brought against them by previous Finance Minister Trevor Manuel.
The High Court in Johannesburg has rejected an application by the EFF for leave t to appeal a defamation ruling in May – in which Judge Elias Matojane requested the EFF to apologise to Manuel.
This after Manuel sued the party for alleging that he was a business partner of and identified with new SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter.
A month ago judge Elias Matojane additionally requested the EFF to expel an announcement about Manuel from the majority of its media stages about the meeting procedure for new SA Revenue Service (Sars) official Edward Kieswetter.
Manuel went to court in light of an announcement by the EFF on March 27, shared on the party’s legitimate Twitter account, which blamed him for nepotism and defilement in impacting the arrangement of Kieswetter. Manuel led the selection panel which interviewed shortlisted candidates for the job.
Following the judgment the EFF, its leader Julius Malema and its representative Mbuyiseni Ndlozi applied for leave to appeal against Matojane’s judgment. Manuel opposed the application.
In its application for leave to appeal, the EFF had contended that Manuel cited no proof to exhibit that he had endured and kept on enduring damage to his reputation.
In any case, Matojane said in his judgment:
“The publication of a defamatory matter results in presumed damages even if the applicant cannot prove actual damages. The court assumes that the aggrieved person has suffered harm to his reputation.
“It is [the EFF, Malema and Ndlozi] who are required to demonstrate that Manuel was not harmed,” he said.
Matojabe also said the defence to the defamation claim that was proffered by the EFF, that the statement was true and in the public interest, could not help the EFF, Malema and Ndlozi.
Matojane said the EFF parties in the case (being the EFF, Malema and Ndlozi) had yielded that the data contained in the announcement was false.
“There can never be a public interest in the continued publication of a statement once it is known that it contains deliberate falsehoods. Such publication is inherently malicious. Malice is established where someone publishes a defamatory expression knowing that it is false and recklessly indifferent as to whether it is true or false,” Matojane said.
Matojane said the EFF parties also complained that the fine of R500,000 was too high.
Matojane dismissed this complaint and said the Supreme Court of Appeal had explained in a judgment that each case must be addressed in its facts.
Matojane additionally referred to another judgment of the Johannesburg High Court from 1924, which expressed that the measure of harms was totally in the watchfulness of the court.
Matojane said false allegations of corruption and nepotism were among the most serious allegations that one person can make against another.
“Corrupt people are loathed in civilised societies.
“The statement was published with complete disregard for the truth and with the sole intention to injure Manuel as shown by the stubborn refusal to remove the statement on their social media platforms despite its known falsity.”
Eish can The EFF stop it with these appeals? Appeals cost money and at the rate EFF is going, they are going to sit on a minus. Just let “Trevor Manuel” be and continue with other affairs majita. Hhayi kabi. pic.twitter.com/5j2Xw08CCf
— Dr. Sanele B. Gumede 💎 (@SaneleBGumede_) June 18, 2019