19 June 2019

South Africa: Manuel - 'No Surprises' in High Court Ruling Against EFF Appeal

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel says he is not surprised by a high court's decision to turn down an application by the Economic Freedom Fighters to appeal a defamation ruling in a case he brought against the party.

On Tuesday, the South Gauteng High Court rejected the EFF bid, which sought leave to appeal an earlier judgement ordering the party to pay Manuel R500 000 in damages, after a judge found that the party's comments against the Old Mutual chairperson were defamatory.

'Always confident'

"We were confident that the court would arrive at the decision they took," Manuel told Fin24. Subscribe to Fin24's newsletter here

"We have always been confident of our case, there were no surprises there," he said.

Manuel had approached the court after the party refused to apologise for accusing him of nepotism in the process that led to the appointment of Edward Kieswetter as the new commissioner of the SA Revenue Service.

They claimed that Manuel and Kieswetter were business associates and related, and that this compromised the selection process.

In a statement posted on Twitter on March 27, the EFF alleged that Manuel was "corrupt" and "nepotistic".

The panel made recommendations for the top job, but did not make the final decision. READ: Manuel vs EFF: I want to vindicate my name, as well as SARS and Treasury

The court later ruled that the EFF's comments were unlawful and false.

The EFF has not issued an official reaction to the court ruling, but the party's secretary-general Godrich Gardee told radio station Cape Talk that they intend to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal the judgment.


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