Former president Jacob Zuma apologised to ANC veteran Derek Hanekom on Sunday and deleted a tweet calling him a “known enemy agent” following a lawyer’s letter warning him he was in contempt of court.
Using the exact wording required by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court ruling, Zuma tweeted:
— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) August 9, 2020
He said he hoped this satisfied both Hanekom and the court.
Hanekom had taken his ANC comrade to court, instituting a R500 000 defamation suit against Zuma over the tweet he posted on 25 July 2019.
The tweet, which was deleted on Sunday afternoon, read: “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.”
Zuma was seemingly reacting to EFF leader Julius Malema’s claims that Hanekom had conspired with the party to oust the former statesman via a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly.
Zuma had launched several appeal bids, including a final one, before going to the Constitutional Court.
On Friday, it dismissed his appeal against the High Court ruling, in September last year, which ordered him to delete the tweet and apologise on his account within 24 hours.
Hanekom’s lawyer, Dario Milo, had sent a letter to Zuma’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, warning him they were in contempt of court.
“Your client has willfully disregarded the High Court order to date, almost two days after the Constitutional Court order was received”.
Milo said they would take further legal action, including launching urgent contempt of court proceedings, should they not comply by 17:00 on Monday.
When News24 approached Mabuza on Sunday morning, he said: “Our client will comply with the court order … he had many court orders which went against him and not once has he disrespected the court.”
He added it was a long weekend and they were based in Johannesburg, while Zuma was in KwaZulu-Natal.
“It’s not a matter of life and death. He’s never disregarded a court order before. There is no reason why he would do anything different this time,” said Mabuza.