Derek Hanekom. File photo: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA).

Former tourism minister, Derek Hanekom, says the tweet by former president Jacob Zuma that he was "a known enemy agent" caused unnecessary divisions and pain and he was glad that the matter has been laid to rest. 

The ex-minister was reacting to a Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling where Judge Dhaya Pillay turned down Zuma's application to appeal an order that compelled him to remove the tweet and apologise to Hanekom. 

The September 6 ruling was handed down after Zuma on July 25 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.” This tweet came after revelations by the EFF that Hanekom worked with them to remove Zuma from office before he resigned in February 2018.

Hanekom took offence and sued Zuma and the Durban High Court ruled in his favour but it did not rule on the issue of financial compensation. 

In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Hanekom said he welcomes the fact that the court concurred with him that Zuma's statement was defamatory and the ex-president conceded that he did not regard him as an apartheid spy and was no in doubt about his struggle credentials.

"I sincerely hope that this matter - which has caused unnecessary divisions and pain - can finally be laid to rest, Hanekom said in the statement he posted on his Twitter account. 

It was not yet clear whether Zuma's lawyers were going to directly approach the Supreme Court of Appeal or accept the legal defeat and move on. Zuma's lead lawyer, Advocate Daniel Mantsha, did not respond to queries from Independent Media on their way forward.

Political Bureau