Zuma's former spin doctor Mac Maharaj backs Hanekom suing ex-president

2019-08-13 15:59
Former president Jacob Zuma. (News24)

Former president Jacob Zuma. (News24) (News24)

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Mac Maharaj, who once did Jacob Zuma's bidding as his presidential spokesperson, has backed Derek Hanekom and Siphiwe Nyanda, both of whom have been accused of being agents and spies by their former ANC leader.

Maharaj was speaking to eNCA on Tuesday, just hours after it was revealed that Hanekom had filed papers in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, seeking to have Zuma's comments about him on Twitter declared defamatory and false.

On July 25, the former president tweeted that he was not surprised by statements Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema had made about Hanekom, revealing the ANC national executive committee member had met the red berets in 2017 to discuss ousting Zuma as president.

On July 24, Hanekom admitted talking to EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee, but said there was nothing untoward about the meeting. On the same day, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule issued a statement on behalf of the party in which Hanekom was slammed as a "charlatan", "wedge driver" and an EFF sleeper.

READ: ANC calls Derek Hanekom an 'EFF sleeper' and 'wedge driver'

A day later Zuma posted a message in which he called his former Cabinet minister "a known enemy agent".

A week earlier, Zuma shocked the country when he told the commission of inquiry into state capture that Nyanda and Ngoako Ramatlhodi were spies.

Both men hit back, with Ramatlhodi challenging Zuma to a lie detector test and Nyanda saying he would consider cross-examining Zuma at the commission.

Nyanda said "the ANC made a mistake by appointing [Zuma] as head of intelligence". He added that the former president "has no scruples".

Maharaj told the broadcaster that, if there was any information suggesting Nyanda had been working with the apartheid regime, "it was appropriate that that information should've been given to the president of the ANC so that measures can be taken to protect the struggle and the ANC".

"This was not done. The fact that the so-called revelations are made now - they are made in the context of a person defending themselves against charges of corruption. And I find that totally incongruous with the duties and tasks one has as a responsible ANC member."

The former president's spokesperson said Nyanda had been entrusted with "highly sensitive tasks" in the ANC, leading to him becoming the head of the South African National Defence Force.

Maharaj said, while he didn't work with Hanekom as he had with Nyanda "during the underground", Hanekom had a "phenomenal record of service in the struggle".

"Derek, I think, has been injured severely by the allegations."

Maharaj said he thought that Hanekom should pursue the matter so that the allegations could be "substantiated by those making the allegations", and withdrawn if found to be untrue.

Hanekom is suing Zuma for R500 000 in damages and wants him to delete his tweet before posting a public apology.

In 2003, Maharaj was a central figure in claims that former National Prosecuting Authority boss Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy. The allegation led to then-president Thabo Mbeki establishing a commission of inquiry to determine if it was true.

While giving evidence, Maharaj admitted he did not know if Ngcuka had ever been a spy.

The commission found that Ngcuka was "probably never a spy".

Read more on:    derek hanekom  |  mac maharaj  |  jacob zuma  |  politics

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