Manuel hits back at EFF over Kieswetter appointment

Trevor Manuel has demanded that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) retract its statement alleging that he has a corrupt relation with newly appointed South Afrcian Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter, saying he will not be abused by “schoolyard bullies”.

Manuel warned of court action over the statement.

Manuel chaired the panel appointed by the national treasury to conduct interviews for the position of Sars commissioner. Before Kieswetter was announced as the new Sars boss, the EFF issued a statement threatening to challenge the decision in court. The statement from the EFF — signed off by party spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi — said the party sent questions to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask why the SARS commissioner was appointed in “secret”.

READ MORE: EFF launches pre-emptive strike against Kieswetter

The EFF now wants the process to be “reopened”.

Treasury initiated the process to appoint the Sars commissioner, which included public adverts. Thereafter, a shortlist was compiled and interviews were conducted by the panel chaired by Manuel. The recommendations from the panel were then made to Ramaphosa, who discussed the decision to appoint Kieswetter with his Cabinet colleagues on Wednesday.

The Sars Act does not prescribe a process to appoint the commissioner. The appointment is made by the president, for a five-year term, according to the Act.

The party alleges that Manuel and Kieswetter are “relatives”, close business associates and companions. The party said the process was corrupt and “patently nepotistic”. The Red Berets further allege that Kieswetter was “was in Sars during the time of the illegal intelligence unit”.

The EFF has defended disgraced former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane — who along with Boston-based consultancy Bain & Company — restructured Sars to neutralise its capacity and weaken the institution. Moyane was axed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November last year.

Manuel said in his statement that the EFF is free to hold “warped political views” about a Sars commissioner, but had no right to “libellous or racist views”.


He said the EF should provide evidence for its claims that Kieswetter is related to him.

“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,” he charged.

He also wants the EFF to prove that he has a business relationship with Kieswetter.

“[Ndlozi] also makes a series of scurrilous statements about Mr Kieswetter, that I am sure Mr Kieswetter can as easily refute. What I demand is a retraction, or Mr Ndlozi will have to face legal action. I will not be abused by schoolyard bullies,” Manuel said.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.
Advertising

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it
Advertising

Press Releases

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations