Lindiwe Sisulu says courts were ‘final arbitrator’ on Khwezi

ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu has said her opinion is “secondary” to the courts on the rape allegations made against President Jacob Zuma by Fezeka “Khwezi” Khuzwayo.

Sisulu made the statement in response to backlash she received during an interview with Radio 702 host Eusebius McKaiser on Thursday morning. McKaiser had asked Sisulu if she believes Khwezi was raped, and Sisulu responded: “I believe she believes she was raped”.

In May 2006, the Johannesburg high court acquitted Zuma of rape charges laid by Khuzwayo in 2005. Khuzwayo was forced into exile and died in October 2016. She was criticised for making allegations against Zuma by members of the ANC at the time, including Julius Malema and the ANC Women’s League.

Sisulu, who has made women’s rights a central issue of her presidential campaign in the run up to the ANC’s elective conference in December, maintained that the court’s acquittal of Zuma was the final word on Khwezi’s allegations.

“On the matter of the late Fezeka Khuzwayo, commonly known as Khwezi, the South Gauteng High Court was the final arbiter,” Sisulu said.

“It’s a matter of public record that the accused in that matter was acquitted.”

McKaiser criticised Sisulu on Twitter following the interview writing: “Rape survivors do not only need society to change, and men to stop raping. They also need to be believed when speaking”.

Rape allegations against male politicians have surfaced in South Africa’s public arena due to the latest statements made by singer and former ANC politician Jennifer Ferguson, who accused a well-known sports administrator and former politician of rape.

During the course of her interview on Radio 702, Sisulu maintained she did not have enough evidence to believe the Khwezi’s accusation. 

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