Former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has welcomed the ruling by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg regarding his defamation case against former President Jacob Zuma.

The court dismissed Zuma’s application for leave to appeal the earlier judgement in the matter which relates to a tweet made by Zuma in which he called Hanekom ‘a known enemy agent’.

In September, Judge Dhaya Pillay ordered Zuma to remove the tweet and to issue a public apology to Hanekom. Hanekom says he hopes this matter will go no further as it is undermining advances in obtaining a united South Africa void of racism and division.

Legal analyst, Ulrich Roux says Zuma does have the opportunity to take the matter further to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein but that he faces little chance of success.

“Today, the same judge who ordered him to remove the tweet found that there is no prospect of success should he appeal the matter. So, the only recourse now left for Mr Zuma is to approach the SCA in Bloemfontain and to lodge a petition to that court, to say that this court has made an error and that the SCA should overrule this judgement and find that his tweet was not defamatory. I think his chances should he elect to go to the SCA are slim to none of achieving any success.”

Pillay has explained her ruling in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on why former President Jacob Zuma lost his leave to appeal his defamation case against former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

Pillay on Thursday upheld that decision, adding that the prospects of another court reaching a different conclusion were quite slim.

“The court’s function is limited to determining the dispute in principles grounded in law. This is what the parties seek in this application for leave to appeal accordingly. In the opinion of this court, an appeal against its judgment of 6 September 2019 would have no reasonable prospects of success before another court. Consequently, the application for leave to appeal is dismissed with costs. I hand down the order. The reasons for judgement will be edited and distributed in next few days.”

Zuma and Hanekom were not present in court.