EFF's chances of successful appeal in Trevor Manuel matter dismal - lawyer

The High Court in Johannesburg has ordered the EFF to pay former government minister Trevor Manuel R500,000 and to apologise for defamatory and false statements the party made against him.

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

JOHANNESBURG – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is challenging a defamation ruling against the party.

The High Court in Johannesburg has ordered the EFF to pay former government minister Trevor Manuel R500,000 and to apologise for defamatory and false statements the party made against him.

Manuel’s lawyer Dario Milo said the EFF’s chance of success in this case was dismal.

Milo said the EFF failed to prove their allegations that Manuel was corrupt and influenced the process to hire Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

“You need to prove truth and reasonableness. If you can’t, you’re abusing your right to freedom of expression because you’re doing it in a way that is not a legitimate exercise of freedom of expression.”

The red berets’ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the court was setting a dangerous precedent of stifling political discourse.

“If the court is saying we can’t engage in robust political free speech, they’ve made things difficult. As a result, we’re going to appeal and hope the High Court will arrive at a different conclusion.”

The party said they’ve done nothing wrong and shouldn't be forced to pay Manuel a cent.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)