Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS

Johannesburg - Deputy president and African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa says he believes Khwezi's claim that she was raped by President Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa made the revelation during the 702Townhall discussion, hosted by Karima Brown, held on Thursday night in Johannesburg. 

Questioned on whether he believed Khwezi's version of events, Ramaphosa said he had to factor in the outcome of the court ruling as well as Khwezi's testimony. 

"I have to go with the outcome of the case and the outcome led to the acquittal of Zuma... at the same time I have to pay heed to what Khwezi said in court.

"Khwezi's story was that yes, she was raped... I have to pay heed to that and I have to be sympathetic. 

At the same time, Ramaphosa stressed that he needed to deal with the issues relevant to the case and could not ignore what the judge said. 

Pressed on the issue, the presidential hopeful then went on to say he sympathised with Khwezi because he could only imagine how painful it is to open up on being raped. 

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"She put her evidence before the court... when you deal with issues of gender-based violence, rape, the general tendancy is to dismiss... I know how difficult and painful it is for a woman to garner up the courage and say yes, I was raped.

"It must be one of the most difficult decisions she has had to make, so yes, I believe her," Ramaphosa said to applause. 

The presidential hopeful also spoke on a range of issues, including his view on white monopoly capital as well as the Steinhoff scandal. 

In September 2006, Zuma stood trial for the alleged rape of Khwezi but he was found not guilty and acquitted. 

Khwezi died last October, after a long struggle with HIV/Aids.

Radio host Redi Tlhabi has since penned a book titled: Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, detailing Khwezi's life story.