Daniel Friedman
3 minute read
4 Dec 2019
9:38 am

Zuma is not my type, says Redi Tlhabi after accusation he ‘rejected’ her

Daniel Friedman

'I like tall, lean, athletic and educated men,' the journalist explained in response to accusations made by a Zuma supporter on Twitter.

Former president Jacob Zuma at the State Capture Commission on 16 July 2019. Picture Neil McCartney

Journalist Redi Tlhabi found herself trending on Twitter on Wednesday morning following a supporter of Jacob Zuma alleging on the platform that the former president rejected her advances at a hotel.

Tlhabi has been at the receiving end of such accusations after writing the book Khwezi – The Remarkable Story Of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, which tells the story of the late Kuzwayo, who was allegedly raped by Zuma.

The journalist issued a savage response, making it clear she didn’t take the accusation seriously.

“I don’t know a single woman journalist who hasn’t been accused of wanting this or that politician when they write or speak about them. Women just want them,” she said, along with some laughter emojis.

Then, she went in for the kill: “I think if you are going to go there get the spec right at least. I like tall, lean, athletic and educated men.”

Zuma’s testimony

Tlhabi has been accused of having ulterior motives in writing the book not just by Zuma’s supporters but by the former president himself.

At the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in July, Zuma spoke of a conspiracy against him in the form of a “coordinated attempt to character assassinate” him, and claimed Thlabi was “part of the external forces trying to destroy him”.

He also claimed Tlhabi was currently working on a film adaptation of the book, which he said was part of the character assassination – as according to him, its purpose was to portray him as a rapist.

“The movie Redi Thlabi is making is being done in the United States and is named Raped by power,” Zuma said.

Both at the time and now, there is no information on the alleged movie available online at all, and Tlhabi’s tongue-in-cheek response on Twitter indicated that she had never heard of it either.

Tlhabi joked that her husband called her and asked: “Hawu baby, why are you denying me all the juicy news? Kanti you are a spy? And you are making a movie? In fact, what’s your real name?!'”


Tlhabi has applied to give evidence and cross-examine Zuma at the commission following her being named in his testimony.

It was reported on Tuesday that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the commission’s chairperson, said the former president “did not file any affidavit to oppose the application but simply filed a notice to oppose”.

Zondo directed that if Zuma wished to oppose Tlhabi’s application, he must do so in a written submission given to the commission on or before Monday, December 9.

Zondo said if Zuma failed to make the written submissions on or before the set deadline, “the chairperson will deal with the application in the manner deemed appropriate, including making a decision”.

The chairperson added that if Zuma delivered the written submission within the time frame, he would take into account the written submissions “and either announce the outcome thereof as soon as possible thereafter or invite Miss Tlhabi if necessary to respond to those written submissions”.

Zondo said these directions were to be sent out by the end of Tuesday.

(Background reporting, Makhosandile Zulu)

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