Zuma: I had to oblige


zuma 4/4/06

SciDev

In the dock: Former deputy president Jacob Zuma has testified in the Johannesburg High Court, giving details of his sexual encounter with the woman who is accusing him of rape. Photo: Steve Lawrence, The Star

By Gill Gifford and Karyn Maughan

Jacob Zuma claims his rape accuser had given him every indication that she wanted to have sex with him - and that, "in Zulu culture", he had no option but to oblige.

The country's former deputy president took the stand in his own defence for the first time on Monday, and his version of events differed vastly from that of his accuser, who has claimed that Zuma raped her in the guest room of his Forest Town, Johannesburg, home after she refused his offer of a massage.

Zuma, however, has attempted to cast the complainant as the initiator of the sexual encounter.

According to Zuma, the complainant had approached him on November 2, telling him she had been upset about a relative's child who had been bitten by a snake in Swaziland. The complainant also told him that she had intended to spend the night at his home, revealing that she was lonely.

Zuma admitted that he had told the complainant that her HIV-positive status should not stop her from having a boyfriend or someone to satisfy her sexual needs.

He also told the complainant on the night in question that he would attend to other work first and attend to her later, because she had wanted to discuss something with him.

"I was in my study, and after some time I heard a knock. It was (my daughter) Duduzile and the complainant," Zuma said.

The complainant remained behind after his daughter had left the room.

"She said I must wake her up, even if she's asleep... She has something she wants to tell me.

"I got there 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," said Zuma, adding that he had never seen her "in that type of clothing before".

Zuma said he had asked the complainant 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 he was busy arranging his pillows when the complainant entered his bedroom.

"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.

He said 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."

Zuma said the complainant had loosened her kanga so that it would be easy for him to remove.

"I lowered it down to her rear and noticed she didn't have any panties on. I rubbed her back and she said 'Please rub my legs as well'. I removed the duvet and lowered the kanga to just beneath her rear and rubbed her legs.

"As I was rubbing her, she didn't have any difficulty with me rubbing up to the area where her private parts are and where her upper legs come into her rear.

"When I finished, she asked me to rub her front and rolled over," Zuma said.

He had removed her kanga and rubbed the complainant's entire body and her legs.

"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.

He regarded this as a sign that she had wanted to have sex.

Zuma climbed out of bed and remove his pyjamas and later slipped under the duvet.

"She covered me with her arm and her leg. I kissed her. When I touched her private parts, they were ready.

"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. She opened her thighs. I kissed her a bit and she kissed me.

"We then started having intercourse. I said 'You are delicious. You are a real woman', and she laughed."

Zuma's counsel Kemp J Kemp asked him if he had asked the complainant if he could ejaculate inside her. 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.

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 case continues on Monday.


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