Framing the law of defamation in the case of Manuel vs the EFF
Statements made on social media platforms, given their wide coverage, amount to publications in their own right and that, consequently, some statements can be defamatory
In the recent case of Trevor Andrew Manual (Manuel) versus the EFF and others (the EFF), the Johannesburg High Court was tasked with determining whether an entity or person that was not part of the print and broadcast media could raise the defence of reasonable publication to a claim of defamation.
The case dealt with the publication of a statement made by the EFF on Twitter in which it was alleged that Manuel was corrupt and nepotistic. These allegations related to the appointment of Edward Kieswetter as the new commissioner of Sars by a panel, which Manuel had chaired. It emerged, following his appointment, that Kieswetter was a colleague and business friend of Manuel, although Manuel had recused himself from Kieswetter’s interview with the panel. ..