Former president Jacob Zuma issued an apology to Derek Hanekom on Sunday following a Constitutional Court ruling.
FORMER president Jacob Zuma issued an apology to Derek Hanekom on Sunday following a Constitutional Court ruling in confirmation that he had defamed the former chairperson of the ANC’s disciplinary committee.
Zuma tweeted a rather cheeky apology in Zulu and English which translated reads: “Mr Hanekom wrote the following message after seeking a court order to compel me to state as follows. The courts acceded to his request. I will now state as requested.
“On 25 July 2019, I published a tweet which alleges that Derek Hanekom is a known enemy agent. I unconditionally withdraw this allegation and apologise for making it as it is false.
“I trust I have stated as requested by him and in line with the court order.”
On Friday the Constitutional Court ruled in confirmation that Zuma had defamed Hanekom, the former chairperson of the ANC’s disciplinary committee .
Zuma had approached the highest court in the land to appeal a Durban High Court ruling in September last year that he should publicly apologise to the former minister for alleging that he was an enemy agent. The court had also ordered Zuma to delete the tweet in which he had made the offensive allegation, and also pay damages to Hanekom.
Hanekom said on Friday that he was relieved by the judgment. “It has been quite a long chapter with one appeal after the other, which affected us both.
“From the onset I felt very confident that I would win this case with the very strong and excellent legal team, but mainly because the case was so immensely winnable,” he told SABC News.
The Constitutional Court had concluded that Zuma, who had applied to appeal the Durban judgment, had no prospect of success.
Hanekom had lodged a R500 000 lawsuit after Zuma had tweeted “I’m not surprised by @Julius_S_Malema revelations regarding @Derek_Hanekom. It is part of the plan I mentioned at the Zondo Commission. @Derek_Hanekom is a known enemy agent’’.
Hanekom said Friday’s judgment had brought to an end “kind of a bitter and painful chapter”.
“I am relieved and certainly I am feeling good about it. It is good because justice has been done, and people, especially occupying important positions like president of the Republic of South Africa and president of the ANC, should certainly not be allowed to get away with totally unfounded statement about people’s past and statement which is highly defamatory, dangerous and very offensive,” said Hanekom.
He said the judgment was a lesson that people should be careful about what they say about others.