By Esther Lewis and Andisiwe Makinana

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema on Thursday suggested that the woman who accused ANC president Jacob Zuma of rape had a "nice time" with him.

"When a woman didn't enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money," said Malema, addressing 150 Cape Peninsula University of Technology students on Thusday afternoon.

"In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money," Malema added to an applauding and cheering audience.

He concluded by saying: "You can't ask for money from somebody who raped you."

In 2006 Zuma was acquitted of rape charges brought against him by an HIV-positive woman called Kwezi.

Zuma infamously told the court that he had unprotected sex with the woman, then took a shower afterward.

Malema visited the institution as part of the league's "back to school" programme, and used the opportunity to campaign for the ANC.

At a separate meeting on Thursday, Malema told about 1 000 ANCYL volunteers in Nyanga that ex-president Thabo Mbeki had been responsible for the ANC being seen as disrespecting an old woman when he pushed Winnie Madikizela Mandela aside (at a rally).

To the great embarrassment from his side-kicks, Malema said: "Zuma was accused of raping a woman, although he did not rape the woman, aphiwe nje (he was just given the sexual favour), he got fired.

"And when you decided on the arms deal, Zuma was never there. He was in KwaZulu-Natal. You decided on everything, including bringing back companies that were excluded (from the deal)."

"There's never been a test, like what Zuma has gone through... what you (the supporters) have gone through. Because each time you had to be there for support."

Malema said Zuma had done nothing wrong with his relations with Schabir Shaik, adding that helping each other was the culture of the ANC.

"How many of you have helped wash a comrade's car or pay their children's school fees. That's how the ANC taught us. It then means we are all corrupt, because that's how we live."

While speaking to the students, Malema defended Zuma's level of education and said that he did not need an Oxford or Master's degree in economics to understand poverty and unemployment.

"(Zuma) was taught by people on the ground. He is the most educated president. Economics is simple - put bread on the table."

He said the criticism of uneducated leaders was not a new one.

"They said (Walter) Sisulu wouldn't be able to write proper minutes, but he became one of the best and produced the best leaders."

He lashed out at Congress of the People (COPE) for their criticism of affirmative action.

"We reject any notion that seeks to marginalise an African child. Just because they have billions, it doesn't mean we all have.

"It was the ANC who taught them the simple things, like drinking red wine, about forks and knives."

He said COpe members were all "Mickey Mouse" characters, and invited them to bring on all the "shenanigans" they wanted.

In response to being widely criticised, Malema told students that they were the gatekeepers for the ANC, and whoever wanted to get to the older men, would have to get through them first.

Malema said the students had a responsibility to fight for their party.

"It's a cool thing to be a member of the ANC," he said.

At Nyanga Malema fired a broadside at Mbeki, saying Mbeki should not complain or act surprised by the way things were handled when the ANC recalled him.

He launched the attack on Mbeki, without mentioning the former president's name, while defending ANC president Jacob Zuma, saying that there had never been a test like what Zuma had gone through over the past few years.

He first referred to an incident when Mbeki physically pushed ANC national executive (NEC) member Winnie Madikizela Mandela on stage at a Youth Day rally in Soweto in 2001, saying: "When you push Winnie (Mandela) on stage, on Youth Day, you must know people see the ANC as pushing old women (around).

"Don't complain about respect from young people, when you pushed an icon on the stage of a youth event."

Taking on the Congress of the People, Malema said: "This ANC has gone through difficult times, but we will never be defeated by a group of clowns."