Lawyers for ANC veteran Derek Hanekom say former president Jacob Zuma is in contempt of court for not apologising for and removing a tweet in which he accused Hanekom of being a “known enemy agent”.
But Zuma’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, has hit back, saying Zuma has never disregarded a court order and will comply. He did not give a timeline.
On 25 July 2019, Zuma tweeted: “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 conspired with the party to oust the former statesman via a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly.
The tweet was still live on Zuma’s account at 13:00 on Sunday.
Hanekom took his ANC comrade to court, instituting a R500 000 defamation suit against Zuma over the tweet.
But Zuma did not take the High Court’s judgment lying down, launching several appeal bids, including a final one, before going to the Constitutional Court.
On Friday, the Constitutional Court dismissed Zuma’s appeal against a KwaZulu-Natal High Court ruling in September last year which ordered him to delete the tweet and apologise on his account within 24 hours.
In a letter to Mabuza, dated 9 August 2020, Hanekom’s lawyer Dario Milo said they had given Zuma an indulgence to comply with the High Court order by 13:00 on Saturday but that the Zuma team was deliberately delaying matters.
“Your client has wilfully disregarded the High Court order to date, almost two days after the Constitutional Court order was received”.
He 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, 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 that it was a long weekend and that 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”.