Former president Jacob Zuma says former tourism minister Derek Hanekom's defamation case against him, instituted after Zuma tweeted that Hanekom was a "known enemy agent", is a matter the ANC should deal with - not the courts, Business Day reports.
Hanekom is suing the former president for R500 000 for defamation, News24 reported on August 13.
According to Business Day, Zuma filed papers in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Wednesday in which he said: "Hanekom's anxiety about his professed role in the anti-apartheid struggle, whether or not this role was duplicitous and whether he was an apartheid plant within ANC structures, is misplaced in these proceedings."
Zuma then states that "it is a matter best left to the African National Congress and how it seeks to deal with those within its ranks that may have sold out their own comrades. It is also a matter best left to Hanekom's own conscience."
Hanekom a 'known enemy agent'
Zuma's supporters intend supporting him when the case goes to court on Friday.
"We vowed that we are going to be behind president Zuma through and through," said Nkosentsha Shezi, the chairperson of the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Champions.
"... We have noted with regret the fact that one who is supposed to be our own, Derek Hanekom, has taken [former] president Zuma to court.
"And I think it's about time that he feels and realises the black power. We are going to be there in our numbers to support [former] president Zuma."
Hanekom served in Zuma's Cabinet in various positions, the last being tourism minister, despite being outspoken against the former president and openly voicing concerns over state capture.
Business Day reported that Hanekom contends that "the statement was intended by Mr Zuma, and understood by those who read it, to mean that I was an apartheid spy and part of a plan to infiltrate the ANC and assassinate Mr Zuma's character. This is the sting of the statement and highly defamatory of me.
"Mr Zuma has no evidence to support his allegations. And yet, he refused to remove the statement from his Twitter account."
But Zuma reportedly hit back, stating: "As my tweet demonstrates, my removal as head of state was part of a broader plan by those opposed to the wishes and objectives of the party that deployed me as head of state."
In July, Zuma shocked the country when he told the state capture commission of inquiry that Siphiwe Nyanda and Ngoako Ramatlhodi were spies.
Zuma 'may' name Hanekom at state capture inquiry
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.
Mac Maharaj, who once did Jacob Zuma's bidding as his presidential spokesperson, has publicly backed Hanekom and Nyanda.
Zuma has not ruled out the possibility that he will name Hanekom as well when he resumes his testimony at the inquiry, according to Business Day.
Zuma reportedly claims Hanekom's defamation action against him is nothing but an attempt to "prevent me from testifying truthfully and fully before the Zondo commission".
He reportedly accused Hanekom of seeking "to prevent me from continuing with the revelations I seek to make before the Zondo commission".
"This may or may not include him, but for present purposes, my tweet has nothing to do [with] whether or not he was an apartheid spy," Zuma reportedly said.
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