Years after president Zuma’s first rape trial in court, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils comes to say that the allegation that he was behind the rape charge against President Jacob Zuma in 2005 is not true.
Ronnie Kasrils was a minister from 27 April 2004 to 25 September 2008, and is currently suing deputy defence minister Kebby Maphatsoe for R1 million for defamation in the High Court in Pretoria‚ for statements Maphatsoe made in 2014.
Maphatsoe‚ who is also chairman of the MKMVA‚ claimed two years ago that Kasrils gave instructions to the young woman‚ known as “Khwezi”‚ who said President Jacob Zuma raped her in 2005.
However, he denied this, saying such statements by Maphatsoe were made to defame him and injure his reputation.
Ex-minister Ronnie Kasrils said although himself and Zuma knew her from Swaziland in the early 1980s when she was about five years old, he had not met with the rape accuser until February 2005 after he was introduced to her. He also claimed not to have met with her until he received a call from her on Friday‚ 4 November 2005 at 10.40am.
“The voice said to me and the exact words were: ‘Uncle Ronnie‚ Jacob Zuma has raped me’ and I got the shock of my life‚” Kasrils said as he described how he felt after receiving the call.
He described the call as abnormal‚ not because of what she alleged‚ but about the manner in which she referred Zuma by his name only.
“We are talking about a young African woman who has tremendous respect. You will never call the elder by their name. The uncle was missing.” Kasrils said, adding that he had to guard his reply‚ although he was very concerned about her well-being and her state of mind.
“I was guarded because the context of that time was one in which from Mr Jacob Zuma and his supporters‚ there was a growing‚ I would say‚ orchestration that a conspiracy was taking place against him.
“He had been dismissed by president (Thabo) Mbeki in June 2005 and the atmosphere in the ANC and government was an infested atmosphere.”
More to this, the one-time minister said not only was he concerned about Khwezi’s health, he was also concerned about his position in the ruling ANC at that time.
“I asked her whether she could substantiate her claim. I asked her if somebody else knew about it. She was very firm in claiming and making the allegation.
“I enquired of her why she phoned me and what did she expect from me‚ she said she did not expect anything‚ she wanted to inform me.”
Ronnie Kasrils was a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1987 to 2007 as well as a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP) from December 1986 to 2007.
He said Khwezi was accompanied by some women who appeared to be helping women who had been raped. He also said the R10m he charged Maphatsoe is not for him but meant to be given away for a “worthy cause”.