Zuma’s appeal in Derek Hanekom defamation judgment dismissed

POOL/AFP/File/Michele Spatari

Appeal dismissed because there was no reasonable chance of success.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s appeal against a high court ruling that he defamed former tourism minister Derek Hanekom by accusing him of being a “known enemy agent” has been dismissed.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein dismissed Zuma’s appeal without it even being heard.

The presiding judge said it had no reasonable prospect of success.

In 2019, Zuma tweeted that Hanekom was a well-known agent of the enemy.

Zuma’s tweet came after it was revealed that Hanekom had met with the EFF leadership to discuss a motion of no confidence in Zuma when he was president.

Hanekom then sued for defamation and won.

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court ordered Zuma to apologise for the tweet and interdicted him from publishing any statement in the future that said or implied that Hanekom was an enemy agent or apartheid spy.

Shortly before posting the tweet, Zuma testified before the Zondo commission that there was a plot among local intelligence services and those of two other countries to remove him from the ANC through character assassination.

Zuma’s legal defence had argued that he was referring to Hanekom solely in the context of his role in his removal as president. He added that Zuma never called Hanekom an apartheid spy at any point.

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