Malema distorted facts of Zuma case, says witness

Julius Malema has distorted the facts of the Zuma rape case, sexual violence expert Lisa Vetten testified in his Equality Court hate-speech case in Johannesburg on Friday.

With Malema sitting opposite her, she said: ”They constitute an act of myth-making in that what he reported as the facts of the Zuma trial are distortions of the actual findings of the case.”

She read Malema’s statement: ”Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money. In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money.”

Mbuyiselo Botha, of the Sonke Gender Justice Network, laid a complaint of hate speech, discrimination and harassment against Malema, saying his comments, made at the Cape Peninsula Technikon in January, perpetuated myths and stereotypes on rape.

They want a full apology and R50 000 in damages to be paid to a shelter for abused women.

Malema’s lawyer said on Thursday he was only repeating what was contained in the judgment, which acquitted Zuma in 2006.

But Vetten said the judgment read: ”According to the complainant, the accused asked her whether she had money for transport the following morning, and she abruptly confirmed that she had money.”

Vetten said: ”It is very clear that the victim never requested breakfast or taxi money.”

She said Malema’s comments perpetuated the stereotypes and myths around rape in South Africa.

In her lengthy testimony, she said that rape myths are pertinent to issues of credibility, blame, victims being accused of provoking a rape and removing responsibility from the rapist.

They play into notions of how a ”real rape victim” should behave — that she should flee, bath or behave in a particular way.

She said that each person behaved differently and their responses were not identical.

Myths contributed to the type of care a woman would receive, the way she was treated at hospitals.

”He suggests he is drawing on the facts of the Zuma trial, but as I said, those were not the factual findings of the Zuma case.”

She continued: ”Misrepresentation of facts in the Zuma matter may be creating a very dangerous sexual law.”

She said it could lead to men looking at a woman’s behaviour after sex to determine whether she was willing or not.

Malema’s lawyer, Tumi Mokwena, then rounded on Vetten, questioning her qualifications.

”That you have read material written by other people does not qualify you as an expert in that field,” said Mokwena, demanding to know how she could make the observations without a psychology degree.

Vetten is a researcher at the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence Against Women.

Describing her qualifications on Thursday, she said she had a diploma in adult education from Wits University and was doing a master’s degree by research, as well as having attended numerous counselling courses.

She had 18 years’ experience in counselling and research in her field, she said.

Mokwena also said Vetten’s opinion was not independent as she was ”clearly biased”, which she disputed.

”I just find that you are not giving an independent opinion, you took sides long ago,” said Mokwena.

He said Vetten had no pre-existing theoretical training, to which she countered that in addition to her 18 years’ work, she had also been a technical adviser to the Department of Justice on the Sexual Offences Act, and that her work was recognised widely.

”Ultimately it is up to this court to decide whether I am an expert.” — Sapa

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