Trevor Manuel 'vindicated': EFF must pay him R500,000 for defamation

30 May 2019 - 12:36 By ernest mabuza
Laughing all the way to the bank: a court awarded Trevor Manuel R500,000 for defamation, and punitive costs against the EFF, its leader Julius Malema and its spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
Laughing all the way to the bank: a court awarded Trevor Manuel R500,000 for defamation, and punitive costs against the EFF, its leader Julius Malema and its spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
Image: Esa Alexander

The high court in Johannesburg on Thursday ordered the EFF to pay former finance minister Trevor Manuel R500,000 for defamatory and false statements made about him by the party.

Judge Elias Matojane also ordered the EFF to remove a statement about Manuel  - from all of its media platforms - about the interview process for the new SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

Manuel went to court in response to a statement by the EFF on March 27, shared on the party's official Twitter account, which accused him of nepotism and corruption in influencing the appointment of Kieswetter. Manuel chaired the selection panel which interviewed shortlisted candidates for the job.

Manuel had, however, recused himself when Kieswetter was interviewed because Kieswetter was Sars deputy commissioner at the time that Manuel was the country's finance minister.

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Earlier in May, the high court heard Manuel's application, which was opposed by the EFF. Manuel had said the statement was highly defamatory of him as it implied he was corrupt, nepotistic and conducted an unlawful appointment process.

The EFF denied in court that the statements were defamatory. It said the essence of its statement was about the "lawfulness" of the appointment process.

In his judgment on Thursday, Matojane found in favour of Manuel and agreed that the general trend of awards in recent times merited an amount of R500,000 in damages.

Matojane also awarded the punitive costs against the EFF, its leader Julius Malema and its spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Manuel's legal team described the ruling as a "huge vindication" and said the R500,000 would be donated to charity.

Following the judgment, however, the EFF said it would not apologise to Manuel nor pay him anything.

The party’s deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, said on Twitter the party had instructed its attorney to appeal the judgment.


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