54th ANC National Conference 8.12.2017 09:03 am

Ramaphosa bombshell: Yes I would believe Khwezi was raped

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa addresses believers during the beatification Mass of Benedict Daswa on September 13, 2015 in Thohoyandou, South Africa. Daswa, who was stoned and burnt to death for his Catholic beliefs, was declared martyr during a beatification mass service in Limpopo yesterday. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu)

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa addresses believers during the beatification Mass of Benedict Daswa on September 13, 2015 in Thohoyandou, South Africa. Daswa, who was stoned and burnt to death for his Catholic beliefs, was declared martyr during a beatification mass service in Limpopo yesterday. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night admitted for the first time that he believes Fezeka Kuzwayo, also known as Khwezi, was raped by President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking on Talk Radio 702’s town hall discussion on the ANC’s presidential race, Ramaphosa said despite his respect for the court process, he would believe Khwezi’s rape allegation.

The ANC presidential candidate said he accepted the outcome of the 2006 trial that acquitted Zuma of rape, but at the same time, he had to pay attention to what Khwezi also said in court.

“What the judge said is not a fable it is the reality that finally led to President Jacob Zuma’s acquittal. But at the same time, there is a side of me that says ‘yes there was a young woman who complained she was raped, but I have to listen to that and pay heed to that and pledge my sympathy and my empathy to her story,” Ramaphosa said.

Pressed further on whether he believed Khwezi was raped, Ramaphosa said: “I know how difficult it is for a woman to garner the courage to say ‘I was raped’. It must be one of the most difficult decisions she has to make, so yes I would believe her.”

In October, another ANC presidential hopeful Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said she believed Khwezi “believed she was raped” by Zuma.

Khwezi, who was HIV-positive, had accused Zuma of raping her at his home in Johannesburg in 2005. Zuma was the deputy president of the country at the time.

He denied the allegations and he was found not guilty in 2006 by the High Court in Johannesburg. Khwezi passed away last year in October.

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