Derek Hanekom

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Derek Hanekom
Derek Hanekom-IMG 1037.jpg
Derek Hanekom during the 10th Plenary of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-X) in Geneva.
Special investment envoy
Assumed office
4 November 2019
Minister of Tourism
In office
27 February 2018 – 29 May 2019
PresidentCyril Ramaphosa
Preceded byTokozile Xasa
Succeeded byNkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane
In office
25 May 2014 – 30 March 2017
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byMarthinus van Schalkwyk
Succeeded byTokozile Xasa
Minister of Science and Technology
In office
4 October 2012 – 25 May 2014
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byNaledi Pandor
Succeeded byNaledi Pandor
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs
In office
PresidentNelson Mandela
Preceded byKraai van Niekerk
Succeeded byThoko Didiza
Personal details
Derek Andre Hanekom

(1953-01-13) 13 January 1953 (age 67)
Cape Town, South Africa
Political partyAfrican National Congress
Spouse(s)Dr. Trish Hanekom
RelationsBraam Hanekom

Derek Andre Hanekom (born 13 January 1953) is a South African politician, activist and former cabinet minister.

He is currently serving as a presidential envoy for South Africa mandated to promote investment with a focus on tourism. He was previously Minister of Tourism from 27 February 2018 until 29 May 2019. In his capacity as Minister of Tourism he was responsible for South African Tourism, and was the official national marketing agency of the South African government, with the goal of promoting Tourism in South Africa both locally and globally.[1][2]

He previously served as Minister of Science and Technology from October 2012 until 2014.[3] He was Deputy Minister of Science and Technology having served under the then-Presidents Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki,[4] and former President Jacob Zuma in May 2009.[5] He has a strong African National Congress (ANC) history having served three years in prison for the work he did for the ANC during apartheid, with his wife Dr. Trish Hanekom who served three years for her involvement.

He is also a former Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, having served under the Mandela administration. Hanekom's tenure as Minister of Land Affairs was reflective of his career in the anti-apartheid NGO sector and he was selected by former President Nelson Mandela partly because of his ability as an Afrikaner to negotiate with white landowners. Hanekom's tenure as minister was marked by an affinity for redistribution as opposed to retribution, and rights as opposed to property. Some have cited a strong contrast with his successor in the ministry during the Mbeki administration, Thoko Didiza.

Hanekom is a member of the ANC National Executive Committee - and has been since 1994 - and the NEC deployee to the Western Cape - the only province the ANC does not govern.

Personal life[edit]

Hanekom was born in Cape Town, South Africa on 13 January 1953. He spent his school career in Cape Town, attending the German Primary School and then matriculating from prominent Afrikaans school, Jan van Riebeeck High School in 1970. Hanekom went on to complete his compulsory conscription in the South African Defence Force between 1971 and 1973. Thereafter, Hanekom travelled abroad where he worked for various organisations including working on farms, factories and building sites. He then returned to South Africa in his early twenties where he continued farming. Working the land, Hanekom was a dairy, poultry, and vegetable farmer from 1978 - 1983.[6]

Hanekom is married to academic Dr Patricia (Trish) Hanekom.

Struggle history[edit]

As a 23-year old in 1976, Hanekom was arrested for participating in a peaceful candlelight demonstration at John Vorster Square, the Police Headquarters in Johannesburg. Four years later, in 1980, Hanekom and Patricia joined the ANC, conducting underground activities while continuing to farm on a smallholding in Magaliesburg. Patricia and Hanekom fed information to the parent body ANC, such as the apartheid Defence Force's attempts to overthrow the Mozambican government through the rebel movement, Renamo.[7] Both were then arrested in 1983. They were initially charged with high treason, the worst offence against the State, but the charge was subsequently reduced due to the international sensitivity of the case.[7]

After spending three years in prison, Hanekom started work with the trade union movement in Johannesburg. Patricia was released a year later, in 1987, but was subsequently deported to Zimbabwe, where the couple went into exile for three years. During this period, Hanekom served as the co-ordinator of the Popular History Trust[8] in the capital Harare.

After three years in exile and as the apartheid government unbanned previously banned political organisations,[9] Hanekom returned to South Africa in 1990 to work at the headquarters of the ANC, where he was responsible for policy formulation on land and agricultural matters, during the period of negotiations prior to the first democratic elections in 1994.


Under founding democratic President Nelson Mandela, Hanekom was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs from 1994 to 1999. In his capacity, Hanekom piloted various reform bills through Parliament which aimed to redress the injustices and inequities caused by apartheid laws and the 1913 Land Act.[7] Much of the South African land reform legislation was initiated, drafted, and enacted during Hanekom's term. This legislation laid the foundation for land reform in the post-apartheid era.

From 1999 to 2004, Hanekom served as a Member of Parliament on various Parliamentary Committees. In April 2004, Hanekom was appointed Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, a position he served in until he was promoted in October 2012 to Minister of Science and Technology. As Minister, Hanekom served until 25 May 2014 before moving his portfolio to Tourism.

Hanekom was replaced as Minister of Tourism on 31 March 2017 but remained an ANC member of parliament after he filed a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.[10] He was one of five ministers who lost their positions following their criticism of the president's controversial relationship with the Gupta family and accusations of corruption against President Zuma.[11] President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed him to the ministerial post once again on 27 February 2018.

Following the 2019 national elections, President Ramaphosa appointed Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane as the new Minister of Tourism. Hanekom resigned as an MP on 11 June 2019.[12]


Hanekom is a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee since 1994; National Working Committee; Chairperson of the National Disciplinary Committee and NEC Convener of the Western Cape.

He also serves as the Deputy Chairperson of the Board of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.[13]

Zuma defamation[edit]

In August 2019 Hanekom took former president Zuma to court for defamation of character following Zuma's allegation on Twitter that Hanekom was a "known enemy agent".[14][15] The court found Zuma's statement to be false and deflationary and ordered Zuma to issue a full and unconditional apology and retraction of his allegation.[16][17]


  1. ^ "Cabinet appoints new SA Tourism Board". Daily Southern & East African Tourism Update. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  2. ^ "New CEO of SA Tourism appointed". Daily Southern & East African Tourism Update. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  3. ^ South African Government (24 January 2011). "Deputy Minister of Science & Technology". Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  4. ^ SA's New Cabinet, Independent Online, 25 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the appointment of the new Cabinet" Archived 13 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Government Communication and Information System, 10 May 2009.
  6. ^ "Derek Hanekom | Who's Who SA". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Minister". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Popular History Trust | Who's Who SA". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  9. ^ kedibone. "F.W. de Klerk announces the release of Nelson Mandela and unbans political organisations". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  10. ^ Nicolaides, Gia (31 March 2017). "Derek Hanekom: SA, be positive". Eye Witness News. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  11. ^ Sam Mkokeli and Mike Cohen (31 March 2017). "#Zumicon: Gordhan and others fired, Zuma cabinet full of Gupta "associates" -". Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  12. ^ Derek Hanekom also resigns from Parliament, looks set for new posting. Retrieved on 14 June 2019.
  13. ^ "AKF welcomes new Board members | AHMED KATHRADA FOUNDATION". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  14. ^ "ANC should deal with Hanekom spy claims, not courts - Zuma". News24. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Jacob Zuma and Derek Hanekom to fight defamation claim in court". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Zuma loses Hanekom 'spy' defamation case, ordered to pay damages". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Jacob Zuma ordered to say sorry to Derek Hanekom over 'known enemy agent' tweet". News24. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.

Other sources[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Andre Fourie
Minister of Land Affairs
Succeeded by
as Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs
Preceded by
Kraai van Niekerk
as Minister of Agriculture
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs
Succeeded by
Thoko Didiza
Preceded by
as Minister of Land Affairs
Preceded by
Naledi Pandor
Minister of Science and Technology
Succeeded by
Naledi Pandor
Preceded by
Marthinus van Schalkwyk
Minister of Tourism
Succeeded by
Tokozile Xasa