Hanekom vs Zuma: Judgment in R500k 'known enemy agent' defamation case expected

Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture inParktown, Johannesburg. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla
Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture inParktown, Johannesburg. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

Judgment in the defamation case brought by senior ANC leader Derek Hanekom against former president Jacob Zuma is expected in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Friday.

Hanekom is suing Zuma to the tune of R500 000 for defamation following a tweet on July 25 in which he referred to Hanekom as a "known enemy agent".

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

In their submission, Hanekom's lawyers said to call someone who fought for liberation an apartheid government spy was defamatory, false and had caused significant harm to his reputation.

Hanekom's lawyer, Carol Steinberg, argued they wanted to know who the enemy was according to Zuma.

READ: I never said Hanekom was an apartheid agent, Zuma argues

"[Is it the] NEC of the ANC, EFF or other parties? NEC members colluded to remove him [Zuma]," she said.

"We submit that an ordinary reader will not understand the enemy, in this context, meant those who plotted against Zuma. Is Zuma suggesting that all of them [those who plotted to oust him] are agents of some darker force," Steinberg added.

Zuma's tweet followed the release of an ANC statement issued by secretary-general Ace Magashule. In the statement, the party called Hanekom a "wedge driver" and "EFF sleeper".

On behalf of the ANC, Magashule accused Hanekom of being a "charlatan [who] is making his mark through his ownership of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation".

Zuma's lawyer, Muzi Sikhakhane, submitted there was harm in some other statements tweeted subsequent to Zuma's tweet, but attaching that harm to Zuma's tweet was incorrect, News24 previously reported.

Sikhakhane argued "known enemy agent" should be interpreted in the context of the current political conflict in the country and should not be linked to the apartheid era.

Judge Dhaya Pillay will deliver judgment from 08:30. 

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