The much-awaited judgment in former president Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal a ruling that said he must remove a tweet calling Derek Hanekom a “known enemy agent” was reserved on Tuesday.
Judge Dhaya Pillay, who was hearing the matter said she would hand down the judgment on the matter on Thursday morning and gave no reasons for reserving judgment.
This was after hearing heated arguments from Zuma’s lawyers and those representing Hanekom.
On July 25, Zuma tweeted that: “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.” That prompted Hanekom to seek legal recourse at the Durban High Court
Handing down judgment on September 6, Judge Pillay described the tweet as unlawful and ordered Zuma to remove it within 24 hours.
"The respondent is ordered to remove the tweet within 24 hours from all media platforms, including by deleting it from his Twitter account," she had said.
However, Zuma is yet to remove the tweet as he is seeking to overturn the ruling.
At the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Masuku, insisted on their version, that Zuma was speaking in the context of Hanekom having admitted to have worked with the Economic Freedom Fighters to hatch a plan to remove him from the Presidency in February 2018. He said Hanekom created his own narrative.
“We certainly think that a full bench will be sufficient to deal with it,” Masuku said in closing his arguments.
Meanwhile, speaking to the media after court was adjourned, Zuma’s lawyer, Dan Lugisani Mantsha, said it was wrong for Judge Pillay to deal with the untested and accepted evidence before the Zondo commission and form a view about it.
This was in an apparent reference to Pillay, who in the contested ruling, seemed to think that Zuma by saying Hanekom was a known enemy agent was continuing with naming ANC members who were apartheid spies after naming Ngoako Ramathlodi and Siphiwe Nyanda while appearing at the commission.
“So, it was wrong for this court to actually go into that evidence and express a view. That implied Mr Zuma was peddling lies,” the media-shy Mantsha said, adding that he was confident of victory in an upper court.