General Nyanda sues Zuma for defamation

General Siphiwe Nyanda has slapped former president Jacob Zuma with a lawsuit at the high court in Johannesburg.
General Siphiwe Nyanda has slapped former president Jacob Zuma with a lawsuit at the high court in Johannesburg.
Image: Gallo Images

Ex-president Jacob Zuma's legal woes continue to pile up after former defence minister Siphiwe Nyanda slapped him with a defamation lawsuit.

Nyanda filed papers in the Joburg high court on Friday demanding that Zuma publicly apologise for calling him an apartheid spy and pay him R800,000 for injuring his reputation. The lawsuit comes after ANC national executive committee member Derek Hanekom also slapped Zuma with a lawsuit for calling him "a known enemy agent" on Twitter. 

According to papers seen by Sunday World, Nyanda said he was suing Zuma for statements he made while testifying at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture led by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

Zuma led evidence pertaining to a conspiracy to assassinate him. When speaking of what was happening in the ANC while in exile, Zuma spoke of one Ralph, a self-identified spy for the apartheid security forces who orchestrated an attack by the apartheid security forces on an ANC members' hideout in order to prevent him from being taken to Maputo for questioning.

Zuma said Ralph was arrested by the Swaziland police force but released after a few days.

In his papers, Nyanda quoted Zuma's statement at the commission that made him see red.

"And they did something and asked somebody - when he comes out after arrest - somebody to hug him as they greet. That hug was important because it will be saying he is innocent. In other words nobody is angry for him that he might be responsible for this.

"That hug was arranged by the police and that somebody who hugged him had been given instructions to do so. And that was General Siphiwe Nyanda," read the papers.

Nyanda's lawyers said the utterances were understood by the public to say that Nyanda was a spy who acted on the instructions of the apartheid security forces.

He said Zuma's utterances were lies designed to defame him and portray him as a dishonest, untrustworthy, dishonourable person who betrayed the movement.

"The plaintiff claims judgment as follows: directing the defendant to tender an unconditional apology for the injury he has caused the plaintiff. The defendant is ordered to pay to the plaintiff the amount of R800,000," read the papers.

Nyanda confirmed that he had filed a lawsuit against Zuma.

"If you read the papers you will see that I said he has injured my reputation with those statements," he said.

Zuma's spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said they were not aware of the matter.