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Trevor Manuel’s lawyers want R500k from EFF over Kieswetter statement

The EFF appeared in court on Tuesday and insisted the statement was not intended to cause harm and was in the public’s interest.

FILE: Trevor Manuel delivered the keynote address at the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Trust Public Lecture hosted by the University of the Western Cape on 16 May 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Trevor Manuel’s legal team said they want the court to rule that the EFF’s statements alleging he had a hand in the appointment of Edward Kieswetter at Sars were defamatory.

They're demanding R500,000 from the party. The EFF appeared in court on Tuesday and insisted the statement was not intended to cause harm and was in the public’s interest.

The former Finance Minister’s lawyers argued the guidelines on the interview process for a Sars commissioner were given by retired Judge Robert Nugent, not Manuel.

They said the red berets did not seek to verify the accusations on Manuel and Kieswetter’s relation but rushed to publish their claims.

But the EFF argued that before it released a statement detailing how Manuel favoured Kieswetter, its leadership had written to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, asking why the interviews were conducted in secret.

The party said it also wrote to Parliament to ask about a possible conflict of interest with Manuel's involvement in the interviews.

The High Court reserved its judgment on the matter and it unclear when it will be handed down.