Former Minister of Finance has set out to sue the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) over their comments of “nepotism” and “corruption” against Kieswetter’s SARS appointment.
The former Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, is suing the EFF, its leader Julius Malema and its national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi over their allegations of “nepotism” and “corruption” after Manuel oversaw the appointment process of new South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Edward Kieswetter. In a statement, the EFF had claimed that Kieswetter and Manuel were related, and that the two had a close business relationship as well.
In an application filed at the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 10 April 2019, Manuel asked the court to declare the EFF’s comments about him defamatory and false. He asked the court to compel the party to remove the “offensive” statements from its online platform and be interdicted for repeating similar allegations.
Manuel also claimed for damages for injury to his reputation, allowing the court to determine the damages which, if awarded, he said he would donate to charity. He also asked the court to hear his matter on a semi-urgent basis.
“I would like to make myself available to serve my country in some or other capacity in future. But the statement makes it less likely that I could ever do so, for it says that I acted in a corrupt and nepotistic manner,” Manuel says in his founding affidavit.
“I believe it is in the best interest of SARS, and therefore in the public interest, that there should be no cloud hanging over his [Kieswetter’s] appointment process, and no doubts as to whether he was appointed as the result of a nepotistic process,” Manuel said.
On Friday, 12 April 2019, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told the media that the party was not intimidated by Manuel’s law suit.
“We are ready, and our lawyers are on top of it. We already said this. The bully Manuel will not succeed in silencing us, particularly from subjecting him to the scrutiny that all who are in public institutions have to stand up to,” he said.