Hanekom wants Zuma to apol­o­gise for spy tweet

Court pa­pers de­tail ‘se­vere harm’ caused to ex-min­is­ter

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - LYSE COMINS

FOR­MER min­is­ter of tourism Derek Hanekom wants for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to apol­o­gise for al­leg­ing that he was a “known en­emy agent” who had worked for the apartheid gov­ern­ment.

Hanekom has filed an ap­pli­ca­tion, which is to be heard on Au­gust 21 in the Dur­ban High Court, in which he has asked the court to find that the tweet posted about him by Zuma was “defam­a­tory and false”, that the for­mer pres­i­dent should be or­dered to re­move the state­ment from all plat­forms within 24 hours, and apol­o­gise on Twit­ter and re­tract and de­nounce the dam­ag­ing tweet as false within 24 hours of a judg­ment be­ing handed down.

He fur­ther asked the court to in­ter­dict Zuma from mak­ing any fur­ther state­ment that im­plies that he “is or was an en­emy agent or an apartheid spy”.

He is also seek­ing dam­ages of R500 000 or al­ter­na­tively that Zuma be found li­able to pay dam­ages with the quan­tum to be de­cided af­ter the court heard oral ev­i­dence.

Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, Zuma pub­lished his tweet two days af­ter EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted that “Hanekom gave us the list of the ANC MPs who were go­ing to vote with us in the vote of no con­fi­dence against Ja­cob Zuma”. Malema also tweeted: “To­day he calls us fas­cists, but Derek Hanekom plot­ted with the EFF to bring down Pres­i­dent Zuma.”

In his af­fi­davit to sup­port the ap­pli­ca­tion, Hanekom said that Zuma had used Malema’s state­ment as a “spring­board to say that I am an en­emy agent in con­text of the ev­i­dence he gave at the Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into Al­le­ga­tions of State Cap­ture, Cor­rup­tion and Fraud”.

Zuma tweeted on July 25: “I am 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 said the “nub” of the tes­ti­mony that Zuma gave at the com­mis­sion was that “the ‘plan’ against him was the work of, among oth­ers, apartheid spies who had in­fil­trated the ANC… 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”.

Hanekom said the “highly defam­a­tory” tweet had been posted to Zuma’s 323 000 fol­low­ers, had re­ceived 1 817 com­ments and was retweeted 2 902 times from Zuma’s ac­count.

He said Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma had also retweeted the state­ment to his 31 000 fol­low­ers.

“As a re­sult of pub­li­ca­tion of the state­ment many oth­ers have posted harm­ful state­ments about me on so­cial me­dia,” Hanekom said in his found­ing af­fi­davit.

He said that the state­ment had led to him be­ing treated with “se­vere aver­sion, sus­pi­cion, dis­trust and hos­til­ity” by many peo­ple, in­clud­ing other ANC mem­bers.

“The state­ment has also caused se­vere harm and em­bar­rass­ment to my fam­ily, in­clud­ing my wife, who has been sub­jected to abuse on so­cial me­dia,” Hanekom added.

He said it had cast as­per­sions on his char­ac­ter and in­tegrity.

“The al­le­ga­tions con­tained in the state­ment are with­out any ba­sis or fact. I am not and have never been a spy for the apartheid gov­ern­ment or any other author­ity for that mat­ter”.

He said in court pa­pers that he had last month sent a let­ter of de­mand both to Zuma at Nkandla and to his at­tor­ney to request the re­trac­tion of the post and an apol­ogy, but apart from a let­ter of ac­knowl­edge­ment from Zuma’s at­tor­ney, he had not re­ceived a re­sponse to the de­mand by the stip­u­lated Au­gust 2 dead­line.

Hanekom re­sponded to a request for com­ment from The Mer­cury yesterday via text mes­sage, say­ing: “Sorry, I have de­cided not to do any in­ter­views for now.”

Hanekom’s at­tor­ney, Dario Milo, said Zuma had filed a no­tice of his in­ten­tion to op­pose the mat­ter but had not yet filed a re­spond­ing af­fi­davit.

Zuma’s spokesper­son, Vuk­ile Matha­bela, and his at­tor­ney, Lungisani Mantsha, could not be reached for com­ment yesterday de­spite re­peated at­tempts to con­tact them.

Derek Hanekom

Ja­cob Zuma

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