I have been shocked, offended and pained by the events that have unfolded over the last weeks.

Former President Zuma made an allegation in the Zondo Commission last month that comrades Siphiwe Nyanda and Ngoako Ramathlodi were apartheid spies. Early this month he made a statement on twitter that “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.”

I filed a motion seeking relief for defamation of character. I note from his court papers that former President Zuma put up no proof that I was an apartheid spy. His counsel conceded in court that the former President “does not question my struggle credentials” and that he does not “regard me as an apartheid spy”. In my view I can attach no other meaning to his statement than that he is accusing me, as he has comrades Nyanda and Ramathlodi, of being an agent of the apartheid state. These accusations are irresponsible and dangerous, particularly in our country which witnessed the horrific “necklacing” of alleged spies in the 1980s.

I am pleased that this matter has been ventilated in court. Whilst the Judge has yet to rule in the case, my view is that our being labelled as spies is a premeditated strategy to divert attention from the real work of the Zondo Commission to uncover the truth about allegations of corruption and State Capture. The argument that the statement about me was a reference to conspiring with “enemies”, namely the EFF, is absurd to say the least. In a constitutional democracy, describing an opposition political party as an enemy is preposterous. Besides, the work of parliamentarians by necessity includes engaging colleagues on opposition benches, debating and convincing them of the soundness of our ideas. Furthermore, as a proud long serving member of the ANC I am committed to the objective set out in our ANC constitution “to unite all the people of South Africa, Africans in particular, for the complete liberation of the country from all forms of discrimination and national oppression … and transform South Africa as rapidly as possible into a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country…”

We owe it to future generations, in honour of those who led us to democracy, including our first democratically elected President, Nelson Rolihlala Mandela, comrade Ahmed Kathrada – who would have turned 90 years old this week – and all who sacrificed to usher in a new era, to unite and renew our collective commitment, across all formations of society, and throw our weight behind President Ramaphosa to rebuild our country. Economic growth and prosperity, reversing inequality, unemployment and poverty requires all hands on deck. A lot has already been achieved, including the start of the restoration of the credibility and integrity of the NPA and SARS. I call on all South Africans to live out our national motto “united in diversity”, make a firm commitment to zero tolerance of corruption in any form and respond to the ‘thuma mina” call of President Ramaphosa to build the country our Constitution envisions.

This is not going to be achieved by anyone but ourselves.

Released by Derek Hanekom

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