Hanekom to Zuma after ‘enemy agent’ tweet ruling: Retract, apologise and delete

Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

Former Minister Derek Hanekom has urged former President Jacob Zuma to “do the honourable thing” after he won his defamation case against Zuma.

The matter relates to Zuma’s comment, which he posted on Twitter in July last year, that Hanekom was a “known enemy agent.”

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed Zuma’s appeal against a Pietermaritzburg high court ruling that said the tweet was defamatory.

‘Retract and issue apology’

The SCA dismissed the ex-President’s appeal with costs and without hearing the matter, saying there was “no reasonable prospect of success in an appeal and there is no other compelling reason an appeal should be heard.”

Reacting to the ruling, Hanekom told EWN on Friday that he was waiting for Zuma to retract his tweet and issue and apology.

“I think it is up to Mr Zuma now to do what the court is ordering him to do and do the honourable thing of retracting and issuing an apology.

“And it will be good to put this matter to rest now. There are many important issues we should be focusing our attention on.”

R500,000 in damages

In its ruling last year, the Pietermaritzburg high court ruled that the tweet was “untrue, defamatory and unlawful.” It further ordered Zuma to delete it and publish an apology within 24 hours.

Hanekom had sought damages of R500,000, but the court ruled that it would determine the amount at another hearing.

Should Zuma fail to take the matter further at the Constitutional Court, the lower court would be free to make the determination. Hanekom said he would donate the amount to Corruption Watch.

Besides the Hanekom matter, Zuma has 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.

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.”

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