EFF loses bid to overturn Trevor Manuel defamation judgment
Johannesburg - The long-running drama between the Economic Freedom Fighters and former finance minister Trevor Manuel has taken yet another turn at the Supreme Court of Appeal
The SCA ruled on Thursday that the EFF had made defamatory and false comments against Manuel about him influencing Edward Kieswetter’s appointment as SARS commissioner.
In a statement on the party’s Twitter account, the EFF had accused Manuel of nepotism and corruption, saying that Kieswetter was not just a relative of Manuel’s but he was also a close business associate.
Manuel’s attorneys wrote to the EFF and Ndlozi demanding that they remove the statement from their social media and apologise unconditionally to Manuel, both demands that the EFF and Ndlozi refused to adhere to.
Manuel then took the EFF to the North Gauteng High Court suing for defamation with Judge Elias Matojane ordering that the EFF apologises to Manuel and also pay him R500 000 in damages.
The red berets appealed the high court’s judgment at the SCA, which in turn ruled that the claims of nepotism and corruption made by the party’s then spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had been defamatory and false.
However, the SCA said that the EFF’s appeal against paying R500 000 in damages to Manuel had been successful. The high court now has to determine how much the EFF has to pay Manuel in damages for the comments.
The red berets also made a successful appeal against the high court order to unconditionally retract and apologise to Manuel for the comments that they made against him.
The SCA said that the reasoning on the award of R500 000 in damages had been sparse with little attention paid to how best to determine the extent of reputational loss.