How Zweli ‘mis­led’ Kh­wezi

Book re­veals how Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s rape ac­cuser faced a bar­rage of psy­cho­log­i­cal tricks dur­ing his trial

CityPress - - News - NICKI GULES nicki.gules@city­press.co.za

Anew book re­veals how ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Zweli Mkhize tried to ma­nip­u­late Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s rape ac­cuser into drop­ping the charges against him. The book, called Kh­wezi and writ­ten by jour­nal­ist and ra­dio per­son­al­ity Redi Tl­habi, con­tains al­le­ga­tions about how state in­sti­tu­tions and re­sources were used against Fezek­ile “Kh­wezi” Kuzwayo, so she would floun­der when tes­ti­fy­ing against Zuma, a man she called “Malume”, and who was her fa­ther’s best friend.

The book in­cludes al­le­ga­tions that:

. Kuzwayo was per­suaded, against pros­e­cu­tor Charin de Beer’s ad­vice, to en­ter the po­lice’s wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gramme in­stead of the one run by the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity, af­ter be­ing fed the lie that the lat­ter’s bud­get was be­ing cut and that it would be dis­con­tin­ued;

. Kuzwayo’s po­lice-as­signed body­guard recorded all her in­ter­views and ses­sions with her psy­chol­o­gist and De Beer, un­der the pre­text that she was do­ing this for Kuzwayo’s ben­e­fit. The tapes dis­ap­peared, and she be­lieves their con­fi­den­tial­ity had been com­pro­mised;

. The po­lice guard­ing her “con­stantly fed her false in­for­ma­tion about her ad­vo­cate and her abil­i­ties, ask­ing her what they had dis­cussed that day and why she was trust­ing a white woman to de­fend her”;

. For­mer po­lice crime in­tel­li­gence com­mis­sioner Mu­langi Mphego flirted with Kuzwayo in the safe house in which she was stay­ing and asked her to sit on his lap. This would later be used to paint her as a “loose woman” who ini­ti­ated sex with Zuma; and

. The night be­fore she tes­ti­fied in court, she was star­tled awake in the mid­dle of the night. She got up to in­ves­ti­gate and found the lights in the house switched on, all the doors wide open and her po­lice pro­tec­tors nowhere to be found.

Kuzwayo died in Oc­to­ber last year. She was the daugh­ter of Jud­son Kuzwayo, an Umkhonto weSizwe com­man­der in ex­ile. Jud­son was a good friend of Zuma’s – they were im­pris­oned to­gether on Robben Is­land and were mem­bers of the same mil­i­tary unit.

The book de­tails how Fezek­ile was raped three times in ex­ile by men she re­garded as fa­ther fig­ures – once at the age of five, and twice af­ter her fa­ther died in a car ac­ci­dent in Zimbabwe, when she was 12 and 13 years old.

Zuma’s lawyer Kemp J Kemp ex­ten­sively used her child­hood rape trauma against her dur­ing the trial.

The book de­tails the un­cles she loved and trusted – Mkhize, Ivan Pil­lay and Ron­nie Kas­rils, who had fought along­side her fa­ther. Al­though her trust was not mis­placed in the last two, Mkhize let her down. He was KwaZulu-Na­tal fi­nance MEC at the time of the trial, in 2006.

Shortly af­ter she laid the rape charge against Zuma, Mkhize sent Kuzwayo a lawyer. She met him in the com­pany of her mother Beauty and child­hood ex­ile friend Kimmy.

“Af­ter tak­ing the story, he then pro­ceeded to talk about the case and the pros and cons of go­ing on with the case,” Kuzwayo is quoted say­ing.

“Ini­tially, he seemed to be ob­jec­tive and just talk­ing and help­ful, and then, to­wards the end of the con­ver­sa­tion, he clearly said that he was ad­vis­ing that I should drop the charges, and when we fin­ished talk­ing, it was clear that I said to him that I was not drop­ping the charges. He then just said that Malume Zweli would be sur­prised at the out­come of the meet­ing.

“Malume Zweli sounded so gen­uine, so it was easy to trust him. He also, at some point, came to see Ma, to see if she was cop­ing; helped her with travel ar­range­ments, money for food...”

Mkhize was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment yes­ter­day.

The book is based on ex­ten­sive in­ter­views with Kuzwayo as well as the di­ary she wrote while un­der po­lice pro­tec­tion, copies of which found their way to Zuma’s de­fence team.

Tl­habi writes of Kuzwayo’s con­stant fear of the throngs of Zuma sup­port­ers out­side the Jo­han­nes­burg High Court, who vil­i­fied her and threat­ened her. Kuzwayo had to run the gaunt­let of the mob bay­ing for her blood as she en­tered and left court. This was de­spite the fact that her ad­vo­cate ob­tained per­mis­sion for her to be al­lowed in through the base­ment, which had been agreed to and re­hearsed. In­stead, she was pa­raded in front of the pro-Zuma crowd, and took the stand a “de­mor­alised and fright­ened” woman.

Dur­ing the trial, the po­lice of­fi­cers guard­ing Kuzwayo would do their best to un­set­tle her by leav­ing news­pa­pers ly­ing around. Re­ports about the trial were splashed over the front pages. The of­fi­cers would talk to her and each other about the pro­ceed­ings.

It was this psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare Kuzwayo faced that got to her the most, Tl­habi writes.

The night be­fore she tes­ti­fied, when she was wo­ken up by a loud noise and found the doors of her safe house open, Kuzwayo phoned De Beer in a panic. De Beer made a few calls and the po­lice re­turned with­out any ex­pla­na­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the book, De Beer her­self was not spared dur­ing the three days she cross-ex­am­ined Zuma, who was ac­com­pa­nied, ac­cord­ing to a source, by a san­goma from KwaZulu-Na­tal.

One evening dur­ing the trial, De Beer found highly ven­omous boom­slang snakes on the doorstep of her home. Her do­mes­tic worker and po­lice pro­tec­tors said this was a sign of witch­craft.

Her co-coun­sel, Her­man Broodryk, said there was some­thing sin­is­ter in the air when she cros­sex­am­ined Zuma and, dur­ing those three days, De Beer was sud­denly and in­ex­pli­ca­bly weak and ill.

Af­ter the trial, De Beer’s mar­riage fell apart, her health suf­fered and her fi­nances took a blow.

To­wards the end of the book, Tl­habi re­veals how a po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ist con­fided in her that Zuma led her to his bed­room in his home in For­est Town, Jo­han­nes­burg, un­der the pre­text of show­ing her some­thing. There, he al­legedly pressed him­self against her and kissed her pas­sion­ately.

Af­ter this al­le­ga­tion was printed in the Sowe­tan newspaper this week, Zuma’s spokesper­son Bon­gani Ngqu­lunga said: “The pres­i­dency is un­able to com­ment on al­le­ga­tions by a com­plainant who has not been iden­ti­fied.”

Tl­habi writes about how, as a jour­nal­ist, she used to be “very com­fort­able” with Zuma while in­ter­view­ing him on his peace­mak­ing ef­forts in Bu­rundi when he was deputy pres­i­dent.

“Un­til he sug­gested, one Saturday af­ter­noon, that next time, I must come not just for tea, but for din­ner and break­fast,” she wrote.

“I have never been alone with him since.”

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RE­MEM­BER KH­WEZI The protest in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s rape ac­cuser, Fezek­ile ‘Kh­wezi’ Kuzwayo (in­set), as he re­leases the re­sults of the lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions in Au­gust last year. She died two months later

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