December 9, 2017
South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has shared his thoughts on the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape. He said her revelations triggered a backlash from the presidential office and almost changed the course of elections before Zuma became the president.
Zuma was found not guilty of sexually molesting Fezekile Kuzwayo in 2006, just a few years before he became the president in 2009. The outcome of the case led to the exoneration of Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa made the comments during an interview with one of the country’s radio.
During the trial, Zuma fueled a public outrage when he told the court that he had showered after having a consensual intercourse with the lady who was HIV-positive to avoid contracting the virus. At the time, he was head of the country’s national AIDS council.
The victim, Kuzwayo was a family friend to the Zumas. His father was a close ally to Jacob Zuma. She fled the country after the verdict. She revealed that she was raped in a spare bedroom of Zuma’s bungalow in November 2005.
Her family house was also burnt down by unknown people, an incident the people believed was linked to his revelations about the rape. Kuzwayo died in 2016 aged 41 years after HIV related illness.
During the interview, Ramaphosa said that it is difficult and painful for a woman to garner the courage to stand and say to the public she was raped, more so against public personalities like Mr. Zuma. As such, she would believe her.
President Zuma’s office has made a statement regarding Ramaphosa’s interview affirming that the court verdict in the case was clear. “Having evaluated the totality of the evidence, the court acquitted the president of rape charges,” reported one of South Africa’s leading newspaper.
Ramaphosa who has been Zuma’s deputy since 2014 is a leading contender to replace Zuma as the leader of the ANC ruling party later this month. He is however facing stiff competition from President Zuma ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Once he become the ANC leader, the vice president could succeed Zuma as the country’s president in 2019.