Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils denied an allegation that he was behind the rape charge against President Jacob Zuma in 2005.
Kasrils is suing deputy defence minister Kebby Maphatsoe for R1 million for defamation in the High Court in Pretoria‚ for statements Maphatsoe made in 2014. Kasrils said the statements were made to defame him and injure his reputation.
One of the claims was that Kasrils had given instructions to the woman who laid the rape charge and that he “sent” her.
Kasrils described knowing the rape accuser‚ known as Khwezi‚ from Swaziland in the early 1980s when she was about five years old.
Kasrils said he did not meet the child until February 2005 after being introduced to her.
Kasrils said after the February meeting‚ he did not have contact with Khwezi 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.
Kasrils said the call was 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 he had to be guarded in his reply‚ although he was very concerned about her wellbeing 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.”
Kasrils said while he was concerned about her state of mind‚ he was also concerned about the state of play in the ANC during the 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.”
Kasrils said Khwezi was accompanied by some women who it appeared were involved in assisting women who were alleging they had been raped.
“I said I hoped she would be okay. I said for me to intervene would politicise the situation. I hope she understood that. She said she did.”
Kasrils denied “giving instructions” to Khwezi.
“The allegation is false. I deny it categorically‚” Kasrils said.
He added that Khwezi informed him the alleged rape occurred on November 3.
Kasrils said he should have been charged by authorities if he was involved in orchestrating the rape allegation against Zuma.
The trial continues.