The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has ordered the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to, within 24 hours, remove innuendo statements from all their media platforms and apologise to former finance minister Trevor Manuel.
“The apology should be ordered in addition to the sum of compensation that the respondents must pay to him. He is entitled to the punitive costs he asked for,” ruled Judge J Matojane.
Manuel had initially 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 (SARS).
The EFF, in March, had claimed that Kieswetter was a relative of Manuel and the two had a close business relationship. The party did not provide evidence to support this claim. Manuel denied the allegations at the time, calling them as “racist” and “libellous”.
In court papers Manuel stated that he filed the application to “vindicate” his reputation and that of the SARS selection panel that recommended Kieswetter for the job, and protect the integrity of Treasury and the revenue collection agency.
Manuel was the head of a selection panel, appointed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, tasked with interviewing potential candidates for the top job in the revenue service. The panel made recommendations but did not make the final decision.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.