Former Ministers Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Siphiwe Nyanda look set to join former Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom in preparing defamation lawsuits against former President Jacob Zuma after he publicly called them spies, says a City Press report.

As reported in Legalbrief Today, Hanekom has already filed a R500 000 defamation lawsuit against Zuma at the KZN High Court (Durban), and it is expected to start tomorrow. The action was motivated by Zuma’s having labelled him a ‘known enemy agent’ on Twitter.

Ramatlhodi, former Minister of Public Service & Administration, reportedly told City Press that he had met with Hanekom and discussed the possibility of him joining in the civil litigation proceedings.

‘I did talk to him (Hanekom) about the possibility of joining in with him. We went through the process with his lawyers about what to do. I am following up on that, I think it might be easy for us to do it together. I was Hanekom’s commander by the way. I trained him in Zimbabwe, I was head of the political military committee in Zimbabwe, so I know Hanekom as his commander,’ said Ramatlhodi, rubbishing the accusation of his being a spy.

Ramatlhodi had initially accused Zuma of auctioning his executive authority to the Gupta family during his presidency, resulting in the latter calling both him and Nyanda spies when he appeared before the Zondo Commission.

Nyanda, who was Minister of Communications from 2009 to 2010, confirmed he would also be pursuing a case of defamation against the former President.

Full City Press report

With Zuma and Hanekom squaring off tomorrow, KZN ANC spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu says party members can support Zuma, but in their individual capacities.

‘We still feel that the former President, comrade Jacob Zuma, must be supported… any individual who wants to go and support the former President must support him. I, myself, will support him as an individual. I will go to his case,’ Mthembu said.

The Mercury reports during Zuma’s previous court appearances, the ANC had urged party members to support him, not as part of the party but as individuals. Members were asked not to wear party regalia, a plea that often went ignored as Zuma’s supporters rocked up wearing the black, green and gold colours of the ANC.

uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus said that they were not planning a programme for the day as they did when Zuma attended his corruption trial.

‘I will definitely be there… there will be some supporters from the MKMVA, but we’re not having an overall mobilisation programme for the day,’ said Niehaus.

Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)