DURBAN, December 10 – Two of presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s most ardent supporters took swipes at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday for statements he made this week about a woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape over a decade ago.
African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini and ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman Sihle Zikalala were speaking at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont, west of Durban, at a rally to close the year-long celebrations of the life and leadership of Oliver Tambo. Dlamini-Zuma was the main speaker.
On Thursday, during a radio interview, Ramaphosa was asked whether he believed Fezeka Kuzwayo, also known as Khwezi, who accused Zuma of rape over 10 years ago. The case went to trial and Zuma was acquitted in 2006.
Ramaphosa said he had to take into account the outcome of the court case but also had to be sympathetic to Khwezi. “But at the same time I have to pay heed to what Khwezi said in court,” Ramaphosa said. When pressed further, Ramaphosa said he knew how difficult it was for a woman to gather the courage to admit to rape. “Yes, I would believe her,” he said.
On Saturday, Dlamini said “the issue of violence against women must unite all women; it’s an issue where we must take a stand and we must not be pushed into a corner to support some and not others”.
“The deputy president of the ANC, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, spoke about president Jacob Zuma… and we want to say, ‘comrade Cyril, comrade deputy president, if you want to speak out about violence against women and children, talk about yourself’.”
Ramaphosa needed to “open up” about himself because he had said in the radio interview that he knew how difficult it was for women to take a stand on rape. Ramaphosa too had “experience” on this issue, she said.
Dlamini also claimed the judiciary had “lost credibility”, following a full bench of the High Court in Pretoria’s ruling on Friday that Zuma’s appointment of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams was invalid and set it aside. The court ruled that Ramaphosa should instead appoint a new national director of public prosecutions, as Zuma would not be able to do so because he was “clearly conflicted”, given the fact that the NPA was deciding whether to reinstate 783 counts of, among others, corruption, racketeering, and fraud against Zuma after the case was withdrawn in 2009.
Zikalala called Ramaphosa’s comments a mark of “desperation”, similar to 1994 when he was ANC secretary general and “told to leave”.
Also in attendance were ANC national executive committee member and ANCWL treasurer Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, and ANC youth league leader Collen Maine.
On Monday night, Dlamini-Zuma was nominated as the province’s preferred candidate to lead the party after the national conference in Johannesburg from December 16 to 20.
Ramaphosa was also in the province on Saturday. He visited the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe) in Mtubatuba, and was then set to make his way to Mthwalume to visit congregants of the same church. Church leader Vela Shembe died in late November.
– African News Agency (ANA),