It's 'common cause' that Derek Hanekom was an enemy agent, says Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma is refusing to back down on a tweet in which he said ANC stalwart Derek Hanekom was “an enemy agent”. 

He says the matter is best left to the ANC to “deal with those within its ranks which sold out their own comrades”.

“It is also a matter best left to his own conscience,” Zuma says in an affidavit filed in the Durban High Court on Friday morning.

Hanekom is suing Zuma for R500,000 in damages after Zuma tweeted in July that Hanekom was a “known enemy agent”.

Hanekom says this has caused him “immense harm and damage” because it gave the impression that he was an apartheid spy. He is seeking an order that Zuma delete the tweet and apologise on Twitter.

The former tourism minister - in Zuma's administration - says Zuma must prove his allegations.

Zuma, in his affidavit, says there are “common cause events” that demonstrate that Hanekom “colluded with opposition parties that sought to remove me as president”.

“As my tweet demonstrates, my removal was part of a broad plan by those opposed to the wishes and objectives of the party ... By his own admission he is in conflict with positions the ANC held to plot my removal. He was part of, if not the initiator of, the grand plan.

“He held various meetings with those who sought to undermine the ANC. He met with members of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

“And he fails to disclose other meetings involving senior members of the ANC ... he also fails to disclose whether or not he received any financial reward or support for his role in the so-called CR17 campaign”.

Attached to Zuma's affidavit is confirmation by Kenny Kunene that Hanekom invited him to be part of the plan to oust the former president, and praised his “bravery” for criticising Zuma.

He said by seeking an interdict against him, to stop him from ever repeating the allegation, Hanekom was attempting to muzzle him during his evidence at the Zondo Commission (into state capture) where he still “may or may not” name him.

Zuma disputed Hanekom’s loyalty to the ANC and said many people had played “duplicitous” roles.

“He seems to suggest that one’s membership of one party precludes them from being agents of another ... he misses entirely the very nature of agents. They operate clandestinely while seeming to be loyal.

“He fits the description I attach to him in my tweet.”

Zuma denied calling Hanekom an “apartheid spy”, and said Hanekom's protestations were premature.

“But only he can attest to his true role in the SA Defence Force or the ANC. He knows which of the two he was deceiving and it is not for this court to determine this at this stage ... he is attempting to serve his own interests by denying this in advance.”

Zuma accuses Hanekom of “self praising” as a result of “not-so-uncommon God complex of people of his ilk” and of being “two-faced”.

“The statement that he is a known enemy agent is true ... alternatively it constitutes fair comment based on a number of factors including that he colluded and plotted with political enemies of the ANC to topple its leadership and weaken its public credibility.”

Regarding his role as ANC chief of intelligence, Zuma said he was “privy to the most sensitive information”.

“Insofar as Hanekom contends that it was inconceivable that I would appoint him to a ministerial position, while knowing he was an agent ... those with knowledge of the intelligence environment will tell you such appointments are made in order not to alert them or their handlers of your knowledge of their role.”

The former president alleged that at the Mangaung elective conference, a known apartheid agent had been elected to a “very senior position in the ANC” for this reason.

Zuma said Hanekom had “perfected his duplicitous role”.

“By his own account his was a spy of some sort during apartheid. Only he claims that he played this role for the benefit of the ANC.

“I will not apologise for the truth or fair comment about him. He [Hanekom] is not entitled to damages for conduct that amounted to selling out the ANC by collaborating with its political enemies.”

He said because of the many disputes of fact, the application could not be simply argued before a judge, but would need to be aired at a trial through oral evidence.

The matter is being argued before Judge Dhaya Pillay.