The Economic Freedom Fighters are yet to prove their allegations of corruption and nepotism made against former finance minister Trevor Manuel. Manuel and the EFF faced off in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.
Manuel has launched a court battle against the EFF for comments the party made against him, alleging nepotism and corruption in influencing the appointment of the new Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter.
Manuel wants the court to declare the allegations against him to be defamatory. He wants the court to instruct the EFF to retract their statement and issue an apology.
His defence counsel, Carol Steinberg, argued that the facts before the court showed that the EFF’s allegations against Manuel were misinformed. There was no evidence proving that Manuel was a relative of Kieswetter and that he had any business relationship with the new commissioner.
She told the court that the allegations were proven to lack evidence. She argues that once it was established that the allegations made by the EFF were false, “the defence of fair comment falls away”, The Sowetan reports.
Manuel has slammed the “racist and libellous” comments. The Citizen earlier reported that he retaliated after the EFF statement by saying he would not be abused by schoolyard bullies, and called for a complete retraction of the claims.
“Mr. Ndlozi needs to provide evidence for the three claims he makes about me,” Manuel said.
“Only a mind warped into destruction by apartheid can ever suggest blood-ties between two individuals classified coloured by the apartheid regime, when the only connective tissue is racial classification. The onus now rests on Mr. Ndlozi to prove the ties exist,” Manuel said.
In a statement [issued by the EFF] about the interview process for a new commissioner, Ndlozi called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to disclose how the interview was run. Ndlozi called the process secretive and alluded to corruption and nepotism in the process.
Manuel dismissed the accusation that he appointed Kieswetter.
“[Ndlozi] has claimed that I, as minister of finance at the time, appointed Mr. Kieswetter as the SARS deputy commissioner. If he had read the SARS Act or the Nugent Commission Report, he might know that the minister of finance possesses no such powers. He has to retract this forthwith,” Manuel said.
“What I demand is a retraction, or Mr. Ndlozi will have to face legal action,” Manuel said