‘I will not be abused by schoolyard bullies,’ says Trevor Manuel as he responds to EFF claims

28 March 2019 - 20:45 By MATTHEW SAVIDES
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Trevor Manuel. File picture.
Trevor Manuel. File picture.
Image: Sunday Times

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel has lashed out at the EFF over its criticism of the appointment of Edward Kieswetter as the new commissioner of the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

Manuel said he would consider taking legal action against the party.

In a statement just hours before Kieswetter was announced as the new tax service boss, the EFF was scathing in its assessment of the process followed in making the appointment.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the process was "corrupt", and accused Manuel of nepotism. It also accused Manuel of illegally appointing Kieswetter as deputy Sars commissioner when he was finance minister.

The party said it would "do everything in our power to stop and reverse the appointment of Kieswetter as Sars commissioner".

But Manuel was critical of the EFF, and demanded that the comments be retracted - "or Mr Ndlozi will have to face legal action".

"I will not be abused by schoolyard bullies," he said in an open letter.

Manuel said: "Whilst they are free to hold their warped political views about a Sars commissioner for whatever reason, they have no right to libellous or racist views. I am sure that other individuals named in the EFF statement are quite capable of speaking for themselves, I am not intimidated by these bullies to speak on my own behalf."

He added that Ndlozi "needs to provide evidence for the three claims he makes about me".

Manuel criticised Ndlozi’s claims that Kieswetter was a relative.

"Only a mind warped into destruction by apartheid can ever suggest blood-ties between two individuals classified coloured by the apartheid regime, when the only connective tissue is racial classification. The onus now rests on Mr Ndlozi to prove the ties exist," he said.

Manual added: "Secondly, [Ndlozi] claims that I have business relations with Mr Kieswetter. He now has to explain how, through which agency and when these ties were established. I can direct him to the CIPC [Companies and Intellectual Property Commission] database, where I am sure he will find nothing. The truth of the matter is that Edward and I have not even served on the same non-profit organisation. He has made the claim and the obligation to explain is now in his court."

He continued: "Thirdly, [Ndlozi] has claimed that I, as minister of finance at the time, appointed Mr Kieswetter as the Sars deputy commissioner. If he had read the Sars Act or the Nugent Commission Report, he might know that the minister of finance possesses no such powers. He has to retract this forthwith."

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