Wanton violence follows false allegations, ANC veteran Derek Hanekom said as he welcomed the court ruling that former president Jacob Zuma's statement that he was "a known enemy agent" is defamatory.
On Friday, Judge Dhaya Pillay of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban declared that Zuma's publication of the tweet describing Hanekom as a "known enemy agent" was unlawful.
She ordered him to remove the tweet and publish an apology on his Twitter account.
Hanekom asked that Zuma pay R500 000 in damages, but the court will make a determination of the damages to be paid later.
"I am pleased that Judge Pillay has ruled that the statement of the former president is defamatory and false and that the phrase 'known enemy agent', in the context in which it was used, would imply 'apartheid spy'," Hanekom said in a statement released shortly after the judgement.
He said it was disingenuous of Zuma's counsel to argue that what was meant was that meeting with the EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee, at his request, was the action of an "enemy agent".
"It is not unusual for members of political parties in Parliament to meet with each other. In fact, the former president himself appeared with the leadership of BLF during the election campaign, and is recorded urging those gathered to vote for the president of the BLF, as he would make a good MP," Hanekom said.
He said the argument that meeting with Gardee was a violation of the ANC constitution "flies in the face of the Constitutional Court ruling handed down on 22 June 2017".
This ruling reads: "Members are required to swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution and laws. Nowhere does the supreme law provide for them to swear allegiance to their political parties, important players though they are in our constitutional scheme. Meaning in the event of conflict between upholding constitutional values and party loyalty, their irrevocable undertaking to in effect serve the people and do only what is in their best interests must prevail. This is so, not only because they were elected through their parties to represent the people, but also to enable the people to govern through them, in terms of the Constitution."
Hanekom also turned his attention to the turmoil of the past week.
"The ruling comes at the end of a week of wanton violence in our country, fuelled by misinformation and disinformation, labelling and scapegoating. Throughout the week, fake information and old footage have been circulated, provoking anger and hatred," he said.
"Fellow South Africans and Africans from across the continent have been subjected to looting and pillaging by criminal thugs. Lives have been lost. This is what happens when patently false allegations are made.
"We must stand united against the peddling of lies and instilling of fear. Our well-being and the well-being of our children and grandchildren is dependent on us working together to build the country our Constitution envisions. As President Ramaphosa said yesterday in his address to the nation, this is the time for us to come together to build the South Africa we want, and which all our people so richly deserve."
Zuma's legal team has confirmed it has filed a notice placing it on record that he intends appealing the ruling.
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