Nyanda confirms court action against Zuma over 'spy' claim

South African National Defence Force general Siphiwe Nyanda. (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
South African National Defence Force general Siphiwe Nyanda. (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Former government minister and South African National Defence Force general Siphiwe Nyanda will be joining the queue to sue his former comrade Jacob Zuma over a claim that Nyanda was an apartheid spy. 

"Yes, they [his legal team] have lodged papers," Nyanda told News24 on Sunday. 

He would not elaborate, but SowetanLive reported that Nyanda is suing for defamation, and wants R800 000 compensation and an apology in the application reportedly brought to the Gauteng South High Court.

Former cabinet minister and ANC member Derek Hanekom is suing Zuma for R500 000 for defamation, after the former president tweeted that Hanekom was a "known enemy agent".

That matter was heard in the High Court in Durban on Friday and judgment was reserved.

This follows Zuma's lengthy opening statement at the Zondo Commission at which he outlined the torrid few decades he has had with people gunning to get him out of the way.

Hanekom asked the court to rule that Zuma must apologise for insinuating he was a spy. He also wants the court to bar Zuma from calling him one again, or suggesting he was a spy in future, and for him to remove the tweet.

The tweet was Zuma's response 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.

READ:  'He has no scruples' - Nyanda wants to cross-examine 'bitter' Zuma

On Friday, Zuma's lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane submitted that the words "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.

Sikhakhane said Zuma meant Hanekom was the enemy of the ANC for working with other parties to oust him as the president of the country.

Former Cabinet minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Nyanda had also been mentioned in Zuma's opening statement at the commission.

In Nyanda's case, it involved the hugging of a person called "Ralph" in an exercise to determine whether the ANC had a mole. 

After Zuma's claims, Nyanda said he would take advice from his lawyers, and did not expect the ANC to do anything about Zuma's statement. 

Nyanda also heads the MKMVA council. 

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