Former president Jacob Zuma in a tweet called former minister Derek Hanekom a ‘known enemy agent’ in July last year.
Cape Town – The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has denied former president Jacob Zuma leave to appeal the high court ruling against him in the defamation case bought by former minister Derek Hanekom, a court official said on Thursday.
Zuma’s petition for leave to appeal was dismissed in chambers earlier this week, with the SCA deciding that an appeal had no reasonable prospect of success.
The former president was sued by Hanekom, an ANC veteran who has held several cabinet posts, after he claimed on Twitter in July last year that Hanekom was a “known enemy agent”.
Hanekom had been one of the most senior members of the ruling party to argue that the ANC should remove Zuma from the presidency when he became increasingly embroiled in the state capture scandal.
He said the tweet caused him great harm because it suggested that he was a spy for the apartheid regime. He took the matter to the Durban High Court where Judge Dhaya Pillay ruled in September that Zuma’s tweet was “untrue, defamatory and unlawful”.
She ordered that Zuma delete the offending tweet and issue an apology to Hanekom on Twitter within 24 hours. She also interdicted Zuma from ever again suggesting that Hanekom had spied for the white minority government.
Zuma and his lawyers argued that the tweet had been taken out of context and that it was common cause that Hanekom had colluded with opposition parties to seek his removal from office.
After the court ruling was handed down, Zuma’s legal team signalled that he would seek to appeal.
African News Agency