/ 22 February 2015

Kasrils sues after claim he set up Zuma for rape charge

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils.
Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils.

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils is suing Deputy Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe for defamation after he accused Kasrils of setting up President Jacob Zuma for a rape charge, City Press reported on Sunday.

Kasrils has filed summons in the high court in Pretoria claiming R1-million, including legal fees, from Maphatsoe for his “false and derogatory statements”. 

Maphatsoe alleged Kasrils “handpicked” the woman who later accused Zuma of rape, and “sent” her to lay the charge. He made the remarks at a press briefing before last year’s elections. 

“In May this year, just prior to the national election when I advocated opposing the ANC, he joined in the ruling party’s orchestrated attack on my character by alleging I ‘had handpicked’ the young woman who claimed Jacob Zuma had raped her,” said Kasrils in a September report.

According to Groundup, Maphatsoe last year claimed that he had evidence that Kasrils, as intelligence services minister, had “handpicked” the young, HIV-positive woman who laid a rape charge against Zuma in 2005.

Political conspiracy
During Zuma’s rape trial in 2006, in which he was acquitted, Zuma had said he believed the rape charge was part of a political conspiracy against him.

Maphatsoe’s remarks, reported in April, were among those critical of a campaign by Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge called the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote No” campaign – which urged South Africans to either vote for a minority party, or spoil their ballots.

Kasrils said at the time Maphatsoe had said he could produce the evidence to support his allegation.

“I am prompted now to request this MK deserter to either produce the evidence he referred to which can be tested in a court of law or to retract his accusation.”

“It is a cowardly and false allegation which I categorically deny,” said Kasrils.

According to court papers, Kasrils said Maphatsoe had not complied with a previous request to provide proof of his allegations or apologise. 

‘An old thing’
Contacted for comment in September, Maphatsoe at first seemed not to remember the remarks and said: “I’m not going to respond to frustrated Ronnie Kasrils. I don’t know what he is talking about. I don’t remember. This is an old thing.”

After some time, he said Kasrils should find the original statement and prove himself, and then decided Kasrils should rather write directly to him.

“He must write to me, he must not go to media if he has got issues.”– Sapa