Zuma trial: Court hears closing arguments

In her closing summary on Wednesday, state prosecutor Charin de Beer told the court that the 31-year old woman accusing Zuma of raping her last year would not have had consensual sex with him without a condom. She said Zuma’s accuser, who is HIV-positive, had made a statement to that effect in her testimony and was adamant that she would have used a condom if she were having consensual sex with Zuma as he alleges. The reasons, she said, were that the woman would have been afraid of being re-infected with the virus, contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), or passing the virus on Zuma since she did not know his HIV status at the time. De Beer also argued that the absence of foreplay and the lack of vaginal lubrication proved that the woman had not consented to sex with Zuma. “The very absence of foreplay activities confirms that there was no consent. “The complainant’s vagina not being lubricated is, in the State’s submission, an indication that she was unprepared for sex and was raped,” De Beer said She added that Zuma’s endearments and kisses including asking whether he could ejaculate inside her during the alleged rape were just to draw out some response from her. De Beer said another reason that the woman would not have had sex with Zuma was that she was a bisexual and swayed more to lesbian orientation. Zuma’s accuser told the court during her testimony that the last time she had had sex with a man was in July 2004 and before that some time in 1999. De Beer again stressed one of the prosecution’s major arguments throughout the trial, that the accuser could not have had sex with Zuma because she regarded him as a father figure and it thus would have been ‘improper’. She said Zuma had apparently offered to assist his accuser with securing funding for her to study in the United Kingdom and constantly played the role of advisor and counselor to her. On the day of the alleged rape, the woman received information that a relative had been bitten by a snake in Swaziland. However before making a decision she had phoned Zuma to discuss the issue, after which he suggested that she stay in Johannesburg, saying she was being too hasty in deciding to travel to Swaziland immediately as she was planning. De Beer said that at this stage Zuma did not have a plan to allegedly rape the woman, but he saw it as an opportunity to have sex with her. She said that when the complainant arrived at Zuma’s house, he made every effort to make her feel at ease as this would eliminate any resistance. A major difficulty of the case has been the variances in accounts of what actually took place between Zuma and his accuser on the day of the alleged rape last year, with several concerns being raised over the differing accounts. Judge Willem van der Merwe asked why Zuma would have made sure the woman was asleep before approaching her, as indicated in the accuser’s testimony. “Why would he wake her up? That creates some difficulty in my mind”,” he said. De Beer said Zuma had returned to the room afterwards because his conscience was troubling him, leading Van der Merwe to remark: “That is contrary to what you would expect from a rapist”. The state prosecutor also accepted that some of the complainant’s behaviour was “strange,” including the fact that she did not have a shower afterwards, but said this was due to her state of shock. The defence was still to make its closing arguments by the time of going to print.

May 2006
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