Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils expressed sadness at the death of Fezekile Khuzwayo‚ known as Khwezi‚ the HIV-positive woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005.
She died on Saturday.
Zuma was acquitted of the charge in 2006.
“The news is absolutely devastating. It is a terrible tragedy. I spoke to her and her mother recently‚ and she was just getting her life together again‚” Kasrils told Radio 702.
Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association chairman Kebby Maphatsoe claimed Kasrils was behind the rape allegations against Zuma and that he “sent” her.
Maphatsoe apologised for the defamatory statement in August and agreed to pay Kasrils R500 000 when the defamation case brought by Kasrils was heard in the High Court in Pretoria in August.
In his defamation suit in August‚ Kasrils described knowing Khuzwayo from Swaziland in the early 1980s when she was about five years old.
Kasrils said he did not encounter Khuzwayo again until February 2005. After that February meeting‚ he did not have contact with Khwezi until he received a call from her on November 4‚ 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 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.”
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.”
In a statement on Sunday‚ her family described her as a loving soul.
“A daughter‚ a sister and an aunt we will forever hold dear in our hearts. We loved her in life‚ let us never forget her after death‚” the family said in a statement.
— TMG Digital