The EFF has filed papers petitioning the SCA to grant it leave to appeal a defamation judgment against it in a case involving former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, says a Fin24 report.

This follows a ruling last week by the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg), which rejected the party’s application for leave to appeal the decision that found the party's statement against Manuel was defamatory, false and unlawful.

The EFF was ordered to remove the statement which was published on social media and apologise to Manuel. The court awarded Manuel a R500 000 claim in damages.

In papers filed last week seeking to appeal Judge Elias Matojane's ruling, the EFF, as well as its leader Julius Malema and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, argued the court erred in at least four respects, with regards to the awarding of damages.

They contend that ‘the penalty chills free speech’ and poses a threat to constitutional rights. ‘Politicians, and those in the public eye who play a political role, are as a matter of course considered to have thicker skin than a truly private litigant,’ the party's papers read.

They also state that the judgment does not fit the injury and is ‘grossly disproportionate’. ‘The penalty has no precedent, in fact the existing precedent goes against large penalty awards like this,’ the party went on to say.

Manuel has a month to respond the EFF application.

Full Fin24 report