South Africa: Gloves Come Off in the Manuel vs EFF Defamation Case

Left: Trevor Manuel. Right: EFF logo.

Judgment was reserved after lawyers for former finance minister Trevor Manuel and the Economic Freedom Fighters met in the high court in Johannesburg on Tuesday for the start of Manuel's defamation case against the political party. Manuel's lawyers argued that the urgency of the matter stemmed from the fact that it was in the public interest, to which the EFF's riposte was it could not be that urgent if Manuel himself was not at the proceedings.

After the appointment of new SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter, the EFF accused former finance minister Trevor Manuel of conducting a corrupt and clandestine process in the appointment.

The party also accused Manuel of nepotism, claiming that Kieswetter was a relative and a close associate of Manuel in a statement made on the party's official Twitter account on 27 March 2019.

Manuel chaired the panel which interviewed the short-listed candidates for the top revenue service job, but had recused himself when Kieswetter was interviewed because he was finance minister when Kieswetter had been the SARS deputy commissioner.

Manuel claims that the EFF's statement was false and defamatory.

"Yet the allegations are without any basis of fact. They are entirely false. I am not related to...

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