Zuma spills details of sex tryst

Zuma told a starkly different version of the events that occurred on November 2 last year, the date on which a 31 year old family friend accuses him of having raped her at his Forest Town home in Johannesburg. After slightly more than three days of gruelling testimony at the hands of state prosecutor Charin de Beer, Zuma finally left the witness stand on Thursday morning without much of the dignity and esteem in which he was held by many in South Africa. He had presented, in very intimate detail, his much-anticipated side of the story that left many in court 4E gasping with shock and embarrassment. The details Zuma said on the day in question the woman had told him that she wanted to spend the night at his house because she was lonely, and that she had come to his study during the evening because she had something she wanted to discuss with him. He said he had told her that he would take care of some other work first and then attend to her later. To Page A3 “She said I must wake her up, even if she’s asleep ‘ She has something she wants to tell me. “I got (to the guest bedroom) and the door was slightly open and the light was on. I saw her lying on her stomach with her thumb in her mouth. She was fast asleep. I shook her. “She was still wearing her kanga,” Zuma said, adding that he had never seen her “in that type of clothing before”. Zuma said he had asked her if she still wanted to speak to him. “She said ‘Oh yes’,” said Zuma, adding that he told the woman to meet him in his bedroom. He said when the woman entered his bedroom, he was arranging his pillows. “I decided to give her a chance to say what she had been longing to tell me. There were no chairs, so she sat on the bed wearing only a kanga,” Zuma said, adding that the complainant asked if she could get under his duvet. “I noticed this was going to take some time, so I leaned on the pillows. Then I said to myself, ‘She has come to my study in only a kanga and she has got under the covers, so she should have no problem if I take off my clothing’. “So I took off my clothes and put on my pyjama shorts and top,” Zuma said. “Then she complained that her body was tired and asked me to massage her. I told her I had baby oil in the bathroom and got up to fetch it. When I came back, she was on her stomach ready for a massage.” He said the complainant had loosened her kanga so that it would be easy for him to remove. He lowered it, noticed she had no underwear, and gave her a full massage taking off the kanga during the process. He said she co-operated fully, rolling onto her back when it came to massage her front. “I told her ‘I am through now’, and she said ‘Thank you’. I went to take the baby oil back and wash my hands, and when I came back, I saw she was under the duvet. I noticed she had left her kanga where I had left it.” Zuma said the complainant had put her arm over him after he climbed into bed and he had regarded this as a sign that she had wanted to have sex with him. He said he then climbed out of bed to remove his pyjamas and later slipped under the duvet. “She covered me with her arm and her leg. I kissed her. “I asked her ‘Do you have a condom?’ and she said ‘No’. I said ‘Me as well, I don’t have a condom’. At that stage, I hesitated,” Zuma said. He claimed that he thought about stopping, but was encouraged when the complainant told him “you can’t just leave a woman if she is ready in this situation”. Zuma said he was also aware that “in Zulu culture, you don’t just leave a woman ‘ she will have you arrested and say you are a rapist”. “I held her and she responded like any other woman’ ” Zuma’s counsel Kemp J Kemp asked him if he had asked the complainant if he could (go all the way). He acknowledged this. “She didn’t respond. She just smiled. Normally women usually answer and say something. But sometimes they don’t.” Zuma claimed he then got out of bed and took a shower “to reduce the risk” of contracting HIV. When he returned to his bedroom, the complainant had left. He said he put on his pyjamas and gown and went to her room, where she told him she was “fine”. He asked when she planned to leave the following morning, and told her he would still be in bed when she left at 7am. “We kissed each other and then I went to bed,” he said. The former deputy president also told the court he had begun discussing the possibilities of marrying the woman, and would have had his cows ready if the woman was agreeable. The implications Following the end of Zuma’s testimony, observers have suggested the African National Congress (ANC) deputy president’s political future has been dealt a severe blow, as he has largely lost the respect acquired in his many years in cabinet. Despite widespread support for Zuma throughout his trial, analysts also suggested there could be resurgent pressure for him to step down from his post as ANC deputy president. “Regardless of whether the court now finds him guilty or not, I think a lot of damage has been done and it will take a very long time, if it is even possible, to fix it. “You only had to witness the reaction of Zuma supporters in the court room during and after he finished giving his testimony. “The image that the people now have of Jacob Zuma is not likely to be the same that they had of him before, he has lost a lot of respect and in politics respect of the magnitude that Zuma had is hard to regain,” a University of the Witwatersrand Political Studies lecturer said. “The question now is ‘would anyone still vote for Jacob Zuma’?”, another lawyer commented. The ANC has been rocked by several internal scandals surrounding attempts to discredit Zuma and possibly push him out of the party. But the ANC stalwart still continues to hold his head up high, and has appeared rankled only a few times during the court proceedings. With another trial on charges of corruption hanging over his head the future is still looking very bleak for the former deputy president.

April 2006
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