Deputy Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe and the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have not only agreed to pay former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils R500 000 in damages, but also unreservedly apologised to him and the women of South Africa.
Maphatsoe and Kasrils shook hands after the settlement, but Maphatsoe chose not to apologise in person, although Kasrils invited him to do so. Kasrils, who earlier vehemently denied Maphatsoe’s allegations that he was a counter-revolutionary and was behind the rape charges against President Jacob Zuma, announced that the money would be used to help Zuma’s rape accuser Khwezi and her mother, whose house had been burnt down.
Kasrils’ advocate, Dali Mpofu, read out a settlement in which Maphatsoe and the MKMVA retracted their public statements against Kasrils, admitting the statements that he was a counter-revolutionary and an enemy of the people working for imperialists were false, offensive and unacceptable, and they unconditionally apologised to him.
They also admitted that their statements that Kasrils had given instructions to Khwezi, sent her to Zuma’s house and was behind the rape charges was false, offensive and unacceptable. They said they wished to record that they had a profound respect for women in the struggle, believed in the struggle for a nonracial, nonsexist society and they had not always shown sensitivity to the issue.
They also denounced all forms of violence against women, including the pervasive culture of rape, acknowledged that many women had paid the ultimate price for freedom and apologised to the women of South Africa for any offence they may have caused. Kasrils told the court he feared for his life, felt that he was under surveillance, could no longer move around freely without planning security and that his invitations as an international speaker had dried up.
He made it clear that his court action had not been launched to get revenge, and said he accepted Maphatsoe’s apology in a spirit of reconciliation. He said he was pleased that Maphatsoe and the MKMVA had in effect extended their apology to Khwezi as well and to all of the women in South Africa who had been abused and raped. He said he hoped they would further extend the branch of friendship to Khwezi, whose life had been ruined in the wake of the rape case.
“I’m not here jubilant. I’m pleased we’ve been able to find each other in a spirit of reconciliation.
“…I see this as a message to all those in South Africa who need to understand where we are now. We’re not in an armed struggle. We’re in a democracy and we need to understand what opposition is, as the ANC now has to learn to be the opposition in so many municipalities,” he said.