Court yet to decide how much Zuma should pay in defamation suit as Hanekom insists on R500k in damages

An oral hearing is yet to be held to determine the amount former president Jacob Zuma should pay in damages for defaming former minister Derek Hanekom. File photo.
An oral hearing is yet to be held to determine the amount former president Jacob Zuma should pay in damages for defaming former minister Derek Hanekom. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS

An oral hearing will determine how much former president Jacob Zuma will pay in damages to former minister Derek Hanekom for calling him a “known enemy agent”.

On Sunday Zuma tweeted an apology for claiming on Twitter in 2019 that Hanekom was a “known enemy agent”.

Zuma lost a bid to challenge an earlier court ruling that found he had defamed Hanekom, when his application was dismissed by the Constitutional Court.

Failing to delete his offending tweet and issue an apology would have placed him in contempt of court.

“I unconditionally withdraw this allegation,” said a tweet posted on the timeline of the former president on Sunday.

Hanekom on Sunday responded to the apology with a tweet of his own. 

“Apology accepted. As far as I am concerned, the matter is now closed, apart from the determination of costs and damages, and we can move on,” he tweeted.

Hanekom’s lawyer Pooja Dela on Monday said the high court had ordered Zuma to remove the defamatory tweet, to apologise and to refrain from making similar defamatory statements in future.

“The court then ordered the question of damages to be referred to an oral hearing.

“That leg of the case still has to run its course. Mr Hanekom will ask the court hearing the damages aspect of the matter to award the amount of R500,000,” Dela said.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed Zuma’s bid to appeal against a high court ruling that found he had defamed the former minister. Last week the Constitutional Court also rejected Zuma's appeal bid.

Durban high court judge Dhaya Pillay in September 2019 ordered Zuma to remove the tweet and publish an apology within 24 hours.

Hanekom, former tourism minister in Zuma's administration, said the July 2019 tweet caused him “immense harm and damage”, giving the impression that he was an apartheid spy.


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