Johannesburg - Former tourism minister Derek Hanekom has defended his meeting with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) where the removal of former president Jacob Zuma was discussed, saying parliamentarians meet all the time.
"I had a meeting with one member of the EFF at the time and when you're in Parliament you have such meetings all the time. I sat down and had coffee with one prominent member the EFF at the time, a meeting he requested, I should say. We discussed how to deal with difficult time in the country's history and there was no way I would refuse discussions of that nature. 2017 was a year in which we saw mass action...our country was in a crisis and we know all that centred around our then president," Hanekom told SABC news.
He said many political parties discussed issues centered around Zuma's leadership at that time and that it was well known that the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee also discussed the former president in its meetings.
"We requested that he step down in 2017 and we did not succeed and the NEC first meeting in 2018, it was the ANC that instructed Zuma to step down from office which was the right thing to do. In the course of 2017, the matter was in Parliament and we had to discuss how to best handle the matter. I must say it's a bit about much to do about nothing...parliamentarians speak to each other. I don't know what the fuss is all about."
He denied EFF leader Julius Malema's allegations that Hanekom planned to form a new party if Nkosaza Dlamini-Zuma beat Cyril Ramaphosa to the ANC presidency at the Nasrec elective conference in 2017. Hanekom further refuted Malema's claims that he furnished the EFF with a list of ANC MPs who would vote for Zuma's removal in Parliament.