Zuma trial: Another theologian testifies

Yet another theologian testified at Jacob Zuma’s Johannesburg High Court rape trial on Wednesday, his 64th birthday.

But, unlike others who told the court of false rape accusations by Zuma’s accuser, pastor Modianyeo Modise’s testimony took a different turn.

He testified it ”was love at first sight” when the two met at the Wilberforce Theological College in Vereeniging when she was in her first year and he in his final year.

They were inseparable and would take walks in the rain holding hands for all to see and spend as much time together as possible.

”Ja, those were good times,” Modise told the court. He considered it an intimate relationship, but they never had intercourse.

However, in a ”drastic” incident, Modise went to visit her in her dormitory where she was alone as and the other female students had gone home.

Although the court heard in previous evidence that this was against college rules and had led to the expulsion of another pastor who the woman accused of rape, Modise told the court he knew of no such ban while he was there.

”And we had a lovely time together … We were chatting, huddling, kissing and all the stuff until she suddenly jumped, becoming angry. She grabbed everything … blankets, pillowcases and threw them out with the intention of burning them. I mean she was angry …”

He left to give her time to cool down and spent the night worrying, unable to study.

He had pulled down his pants during the cuddling. ”I kissed her, she was just permissive. I cuddled her, she was just permissive. I thought on my own maybe she was enjoying what I was doing,” he testified.

”… [it was] when I tried to pull my pants down that she jumped.”

Asked by Zuma’s counsel Jerome Brauns whether he had intended having sex with her, Modise replied: ”That was exactly my intention.”

In the end they did not have sex.

The next day he was so worried that he did not go to chapel as usual, and looked for the woman the whole morning to talk to her about the incident. He eventually found her and apologised.

She forgave him, they hugged and continued to be the best of friends. They had no more intimate sessions.

”Nope, I was very, very afraid because by then she was my very, very best friend whom I did not want to hurt.”

But then one day the woman just ”vanished” from the college and he never saw her again.

Modise testified that he was later informed by Reverend Peete Mbambo, the woman’s local pastor, that she had told him Modise raped her. She never directly accused him of this.

Mbambo is one of a number of witnesses the defence has called in support of its belief that the complainant made false rape allegations in the past. He too was accused of raping her.

Modise testified that he was boarding master at the college before Katlehong African Methodist Episcopal church pastor Oupa Mathabe took over.

The court heard on Tuesday that the woman and her mother suspected the boarding master of the college had raped her, impregnating her, during a blackout in which she apparently lost consciousness.

Her mother told her the aborted foetus ”resembled” the boarding master, whose name she could not remember.

At the beginning of proceedings, the public gallery sang happy birthday to Zuma and court officials, his lawyers and state prosecutors shook his hand.

When Judge Willem van der Merwe entered the court, he said to Zuma: ”Mr Zuma, I hope the next 64 years are better than the first 64 years … Congratulations.”

Zuma, looking bashful, stood up and replied: ”Thank you.”

He is accused of raping an HIV-positive family friend at his home in Johannesburg on November 2 last year. He claims the sex was consensual. – Sapa

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Jenni Evans
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