Former president Jacob Zuma has labelled the urgent defamation court application against him by former tourism minister Derek Hanekom as “misplaced and premature” because he is “yet to mention him as an apartheid spy”.
In his answering affidavit to the urgent application, which was heard at the KwaZulu-Natal division of the High Court on Friday, Zuma argued that Hanekom had misconstrued his tweet in his haste to associate his tweet about him with his sentiments before the Zondo commission, which is looking into allegations of state capture.
“My affidavit seeks to oppose the relief sought by Hanekom and correct some of his misconceptions about my statements about which he complains,” says the former president.
Zuma argued that “Hanekom wrongfully combines his utterances at the Zondo commission – where he labeled former ministers Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Siphiwe Nyanda as spies placed in the ANC – with his tweet, in which he calls Hanekom “a known enemy agent”.
“His attempts to fudge the two is mischievous as he seeks to prevent me from continuing with the revelations I seek to make before the Zondo commission,” says Zuma.
Hanekom filed a R500 000 defamation lawsuit against Zuma at the Durban High Court on August 5.
The former minister argued that Zuma’s tweet was tantamount to defamation of his character and put in question his loyalty to the ANC.
Zuma, however, argued that it was Hanekom who was “perpetuating a lie about his role in the South African conflict during apartheid”.
“Hanekom’s anxieties about his professed role in the anti-apartheid struggle – whether or not his role was duplicitous and whether he was an apartheid plant within the ANC structures – is misplaced in these proceedings,” argued the former president.
He said the matter would be “best dealt with by the ruling party, whose member were betrayed, and Hanekom’s own conscience”.
Zuma also reckoned that, through this urgent application, Hanekom was attempting to force a scenario where Zuma would be compelled not to mention the former minister before the Zondo commission where he is set to appear again and give testimony.
He also argued that his tweet should be viewed in context. He said that when this was done it was clear that the tweet merely implied that the revelations made by EFF leader Julius Malema had proved allegations that he made before the Zondo commission when he stated that there was as coordinated plot to remove him from office.
The tweet was posted following utterances by Malema that he had met Hanekom, among others, leading up to the ANC’s 54th elective conference.
Zuma argued that “Hanekom in his own admission held various meetings with those who sought to undermine the ANC by removing its elected president and, by extension the head of state”.
“He fails to disclose other meetings involving other senior members of the ANC with whom he collaborated in conniving with the opposition to oust me as head of state,” said Zuma.
He also argued that although “Hanekom’s affidavit was replete with protestations and denials” that he was ever an apartheid spy during the anti-apartheid struggle, “his protests, though understandable, are misplaced misplaced and premature as I have not yet mentioned he was an apartheid spy.”