African National Congress NEC member, Derek Hanekom and former president Jacob Zuma’s court battle may cause deeper ructions within the ruling party. This is according to political analyst, Xolani Dube.

The former Tourism Minister is suing the former statesman for R500 000 over what he says is a derogatory tweet that caused him reputational damage.

The spat follows a frank admission from ANC NEC member Hanekom in July, saying he had meetings with the EFF on plans to oust Zuma as president of the Republic.

Hanekom said, “At that particular time, we had common interests, and so we stood together. Most of us in the ANC agreed on this course of action. There’s nothing wrong with co-operating with other parties on the right course of action.”

A day later, former president Zuma hit back at Hanekom in a tweet.

He tweeted that he was not surprised and that Hanekom had been a “known enemy agent.”

Hanekom is now taking the matter to court.

In court papers filed by his lawyer, Hanekom wants Zuma to delete his tweet, acknowledge it was entirely false and apologise.

But analysts say that this may cause deeper divisions within the ruling party which is playing itself out in the public domain and may push Zuma to disclose his sources.

Political scientist at Unisa Dirk Kotze says, “The fact the Hanekom takes former president Jacob Zuma to court is clearly an indication of what we’ve seen after the Zondo Commission, where there was a division in the ANC about it, especially those who were implicated. It may split the ANC even more than what it was in terms of the factional fault lines.

“The legal implications, as a person who’s not a lawyer, are more or less the following: It will force Zuma to reveal his sources or information and what basis did he come to the conclusion that Hanekom was a spy or worked for the apartheid government.”

Political commentator Xolani Dube says the ANC is becoming toxic.

“Their language for hatred amongst themselves is being transported into the public domain, and we need to be isolated from this as the public. To go beyond calling someone a spy,  is putting someone’s life in danger. For a ‘president’ to tweet such things in the public domain and celebrate when his organization is in a corner shows that to a certain extent, anything bad that is happening in the ANC, he will celebrate because he is no longer ‘a part of the ANC.’ What are we left with if these things are happening in the governing party?”

The matter will be heard at the Durban High Court next week Wednesday.

Meanwhile, former Communications Minister Simphiwe Nyanda is considering cross-examining Zuma at the State Capture Inquiry.

This follows claims made by Zuma that Nyanda was an apartheid spy. Both parties were not available for comment.

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