Jacob Zuma loses bid to appeal 'defamation tweet' ruling on Hanekom

21 May 2020 - 14:18 By TimesLIVE
Derek Hanekom sued former president Jacob Zuma for R500,000 in damages for the tweet.
Derek Hanekom sued former president Jacob Zuma for R500,000 in damages for the tweet.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has dismissed a bid by former president Jacob Zuma to appeal against a high court ruling that found he had defamed former minister Derek Hanekom by calling him a “known enemy agent” on Twitter.

BusinessLIVE reported on Thursday that Zuma’s application to the SCA was “dismissed with costs on the grounds that there was no reasonable prospect of success”.

Durban high court judge Dhaya Pillay had in September 2019 ordered Zuma to remove the tweet and publish an apology within 24 hours.

Hanekom, the former tourism minister - in Zuma's administration – sued Zuma for R500,000 in damages after the former president tweeted in July 2019 that he was a “known enemy agent”, TimesLIVE reported previously.

Hanekom said this had caused him “immense harm and damage”, giving the impression that he was an apartheid spy.

Zuma in turn argued, in an affidavit, that there were “common cause events” that demonstrated Hanekom had “colluded with opposition parties that sought to remove me as president”.

The tweet by Zuma was in response to EFF leader Julius Malema having revealed that Hanekom had met with the red berets to plot a plan to "oust Zuma" from office.

Judge Pillay said in the 2019 ruling that the litigation between them was a proxy for the internal conflict within the ANC.

“Lawfare is a consequence of the failure of dialogue and politics ... it is a battle or skirmish in the overall war for dominance and control by one or other faction. The courts will resolve this dispute, but it would take much more to resolve the conflict,” said Pillay.


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