Jacob Zuma ordered to say sorry to Derek Hanekom over 'known enemy agent' tweet

2019-09-06 09:35
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

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Former president Jacob Zuma has been interdicted from publishing any statement in the future that "says or implies" that senior ANC leader Derek Hanekom ''is or was" an enemy agent or an apartheid spy, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court ruled on Friday.

Hanekom took Zuma to court to the tune of R500,000 for defamation following a tweet on July 25 which Zuma referred to Hanekom as a "known enemy agent".

Zuma was reacting to EFF leader Julius Malema's claims that Hanekom conspired with the party to oust him via a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly.

Judge Dhaya Pillay declared that Zuma's publication of the tweet was unlawful.

"The respondent is ordered to remove the tweet within 24 hours from all media platforms including by deleting it in from his Twitter account," Pillay ordered.

Zuma was also ordered to publish on his Twitter account, within 24 hours, the following apology: "On 25 July 2019, I published a tweet which alleges that Derek Hanekom is a known enemy agent. I unconditionally withdraw this allegation and apologise for making it as if it is false."

Hanekom's lawyers had submitted that to suggest that someone who fought for liberation an apartheid government spy was defamatory, false and had caused significant harm to the former tourism minister's reputation.

They also wanted Zuma to be interdicted from telling the Zondo commission into state capture that Hanekom was an apartheid spy.

Hanekom's advocate Carol Steinberg had submitted that, according to Zuma's answering affidavits, he said he "may" still testify at the commission that Hanekom was a spy.

Pillay made an order that Zuma was interdicted from publishing any statement that Hanekom was an apartheid spy or an enemy agent.

"The interdict in the preceding paragraph does not bar the respondent from testifying truthfully, as he is required to, at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegation of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State," Pillay ruled.

Zuma's lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane had argued that it was "incompetent" to interdict Zuma from "saying certain things" when he testified at the Zondo Commission into State Capture.

Hanekom was also awarded damages against Zuma, "the quantum of which is yet to be determined".

"The determination of the quantum of damages of R500,000 claimed by the applicant against the respondent is referred for oral evidence," said Pillay.

Zuma was also ordered to pay the applicant's costs, including the costs of two counsel.

The matter was adjourned without a date being.

Read more on:    derek hanekom  |  jacob zuma  |  politics
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