Zuma’s bid to appeal Hanekom’s ‘enemy agent’ tweet ruling dismissed with costs

Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

Former President Jacob Zuma has lost his appeal against a ruling that said his “enemy agent” tweet about former Minister Derek Hanekom was defamatory.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed Zuma’s appeal on Wednesday with costs and without hearing the matter.

The SCA said there was “no reasonable prospect of success in an appeal and there is no other compelling reason an appeal should be heard.”

‘Known enemy agent’

In July last year, the ex-President reacted to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s claim that in 2017, Hanekom met EFF leaders to discuss removing Zuma from power.

Zuma tweeted, “I’m not surprised by @Julius_S_Malema revelations regarding @Derek_Hanekom. It is part of the plan I mentioned at the Zondo Commission. @Derek_Hanekom is a known enemy agent.”

Hanekom subsequently filed a R500,000 defamation lawsuit against Zuma at the Pietermaritzburg hight court. In his defence, Zuma said his “enemy agent” comment only referred to how Hanekom “connived with enemies and opposition parties” to remove him as President.

Judge Dhaya Pillay ruled that the tweet was “untrue, defamatory and unlawful.” She further ordered Zuma to delete it and publish an apology within 24 hours.

Claims against judges

However, Zuma filed an appeal at the same court, but lost it in November. He then filed an appeal at the SCA, which he has now lost. It is unclear at this stage whether he will file an appeal at the Constitutional Court or not.

In a Zooming With Zumas conversation with his son Duduzane earlier this week, Zuma claimed certain judges had “pronounced” that he will not win cases they are presiding over.

He claimed, “As a free man during the democratic time, it is almost always a given in the country that if you went to certain courts, Jacob Zuma cannot win a case.

“Some people in the judiciary have unfortunately pronounced that Zuma will never win a case in my court. It is a sad thing that in a free country that you fought for, you must feel you are in the same situation as it were during apartheid.”

Besides the Hanekom matter, Zuma recently lost a series of appeals against a Pietermaritzburg high court ruling that quashed his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption trial.

Earlier this month, Zuma withdrew his last appeal on the matter at the Constitutional Court, opting instead to proceed with the trial which will resume on 23 June.

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