Derek Hanekom admits he met with EFF, with allegations it was to plot removal of Zuma

Derek Hanekom admits he met with EFF, with allegations it was to plot removal of Zuma

Former tourism minister Derek Hanekom.

The former minister, however, says it should not be seen as a big deal.

ANC national executive committee member and former tourism minister Derek Hanekom has confirmed that he met with EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee several times to discuss “ways to oust” the then president, Jacob Zuma.

Talk radio station SAfm first broadcasted the news as well as confirming it on social media.

Subsequently, however, Hanekom downplayed the revelation, saying it had mostly been informal and that he had merely had coffee with Gardee.

“People of different parties have coffee with each other all the time. He is making something big out of nothing,” Hanekom said. He has not confirmed an allegation that he was ever involved in any plan to create a rival political party to the ANC.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has also cautioned against drawing conclusions about what may have been discussed between the parties.

Hanekom was removed from the executive by Zuma in one of the then president’s last of many cabinet reshuffles. The former minister had been increasingly outspoken in his opposition to Zuma and is known to be a strong supporter of Cyril Ramaphosa’s rise to power.

EFF leader Julius Malema revealed outside the high court on Tuesday that the EFF had worked with the SA Communist Party’s Solly Mapaila and Hanekom to remove Zuma.

“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 alleged. “Hanekom was preparing for formation of a new party if [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma] won.”

Malema alleged that he had recordings to prove that Hanekom was part of plans to create a breakaway party if Ramaphosa did not win.

The SACP has also confirmed that Mapaila was doing party work by working to oust Zuma.

Although the EFF and Hanekom may have worked together, even if casually, in such a project against a mutual foe, they have since fallen out, with EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu on Tuesday calling Hanekom “self serving” in a tweet and taking exception to Hanekom referring to the EFF as “fascists”.

He said Hanekom had in the past been “harassing EFF leadership with calls giving names of the EFF MPs who were going to vote with the opposition to remove Zuma, and said they will form a new party with NDZ won NASREC. Now he calls the EFF Fascists?! Go on!!!”

In 2017, Zuma narrowly survived a final vote of no confidence against him in parliament, which was the first ever to be held by secret ballot. Some ANC members, such as Hanekom, made no secret of the fact that they wanted to vote Zuma out.

In August of that year, of 384 total votes cast there were 177 yes votes, 198 no votes and nine abstentions, with the difference being a mere 11 votes. Several ANC MPs must have voted against Zuma.

At least 18 of the ruling party’s members voted with the opposition, who had taken pains to portray their motion as an attempt to dislodge a weak and unpopular president, not an assault on the ruling ANC. The opposition calculated that there were possibly as many as 40 or more ANC MPs who supported the motion as Zuma survived his eighth no-confidence motion in eight years after weeks of protest and even Constitutional Court action in an effort to depose him.

The result flew in the face of a promise from EFF leader Julius Malema, who had assured South Africa that Zuma would be removed if the vote was by secret ballot.

He claimed prior to the vote that he had 60 ANC MPs’ support against Zuma, which turned out to be an overestimation.

The reaction to the news from SAfm News initially divided social media, with some saying that if it was true Hanekom should be sanctioned by the party for going against the chief whip’s instructions, with still others calling it “treason” and even repeating allegations that Hanekom had been a “spy” infiltrator against the ANC. However, this appears to be a confusion of the fact that Hanekom had worked as a spy, but against the apartheid regime, for which he was jailed.

Many, however, also said Hanekom had been within his rights to make political moves against Zuma if he believed it was in the interests of the ANC and the country.

(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)

Note: Hanekom’s additional comments were added at 7.21pm.

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