Durban - If Derek Hanekom wins his R500 000 defamation case against former president Jacob Zuma, he will donate the proceeds to Corruption Watch, the Durban High Court heard on Friday.
Judge Daya Pillay reserved judgment in the civil case after the former tourism minister’s lawyer, Carol Steinberg, and Muzi Sikhakhane for the former president, argued over the significance of the words “known enemy agent”, which Zuma had used in a tweet to describe Hanekom.
The comment was tweeted after hearing from EFF leader Julius Malema that Hanekom had met privately with its secretary-general, Godrich Gardee, to discuss ousting Zuma as president in a parliamentary vote.
Steinberg submitted that people would have understood that to mean he had been an apartheid spy and that after Zuma’s tweet, messages like “you are a disgrace, you betrayed us, thousands of freedom fighters disappeared because of spies like you” were directed at Hanekom on social media.
These made Hanekom and his wife, Trish, feel they were in danger, Steinberg said.
She said the tweet could be linked to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State capture, where Zuma had testified that former minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was a spy, as was former South African National Defence Force head General Siphiwe Nyanda.Zuma later tweeted that he was not surprised by Malema revealing that Hanekom was part of a plan against him that he had mentioned at the commission, and that Hanekom was part of this plan and a “known enemy agent”.
Sikhakhane, on the other hand, argued that Zuma was referring to the politics of the present rather than apartheid “which came off the statute books 25 years ago”.
He said reference to apartheid was from Hanekom’s own words, adding that Hankeom had “pulled a dagger, sharp as it is, to stab himself”.
After the proceedings, Hanekom said that although what was said was offensive, hurtful and defamatory, the case was fundamentally about truth versus perpetuated and malicious lies.
“It’s not only me. It’s lies that have been told about Nyanda, Ramatlhodi and myself, with a clear indication that there are more to come. And that’s what Mr Zuma has said, that he is going to reveal things about other people.”
Zuma is scheduled to return to the Zondo Commission later this year.
Hanekom has also asked the courts to interdict Zuma from saying anything about his being an apartheid spy, or enemy agent.
He has called any claim of it unsubstantiated. The court heard that Hanekom had infiltrated the apartheid forces to spy for the ANC and helped spill the beans on South African support for Renamo in Mozambique to President Samora Machel, had been jailed for high treason, gone into exile in Zimbabwe and had always been a loyal ANC member.
“To be honest,” Hanekom went on to say, “it is just an attempt to divert public attention from the real issues where Mr Zuma is facing some very serious charges. There are some very serious allegations about his role in state capture. I’m not suggesting that he’s guilty of anything, but he is facing these very serious charges.
“And when he resorts to these malicious lies it diverts our attention from the real issues we should be paying attention to.
“So it’s important for us to establish the truth. It’s important for society because otherwise society just accepts these lies and damage is done by these lies.”