Zizi Kodwa accused of rape

Zizi Kodwa. Picture: Cornell Tukiri/EPA
Zizi Kodwa. Picture: Cornell Tukiri/EPA

Woman alleges the head of the ANC’s presidency office drugged and raped her in a hotel in Sandton in April

A woman has accused head of the ANC’s presidency office and the party’s acting spokesperson Zizi Kodwa of drugging and raping her at an upmarket hotel room in Sandton last year.

The details are contained in an undated letter sent to the ANC and Kodwa. The letter alleges he sexually assaulted one woman.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte yesterday said that a complaint had been sent to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s office regarding “a high-ranking ANC member”.

City Press could not reach Kodwa for comment.

However, in a statement earlier today, he said the allegations were “replete with false accusations” and he described it as a “feeble yet dangerous attempt at political blackmail and manipulation”.

“At the outset, I deny these accusations with the contempt they deserve,” he said.

He added that he would not “succumb to extortion and blackmail” and would not be silenced through “dirty tricks”.

“Most importantly, I refuse to bow down to dirty tricks by cowards operating from their factional dark corners, using women to fight or neutralise me.

“Most tragically, I detest the use of such serious societal maladies like rape, sexual harassment and women abuse to simply achieve narrow factional and political ends. It is an insult to the women of this country and a fight against women abuse.”

He further described the accusation as “orchestrated by elements wishing to turn our politics into a jungle, a place for apartheid-like dirty tricks to silence others.”

Kodwa said he was currently seeking legal advice with a view to a possible case of extortion or defamation or any other legal remedy available to him.

“I will not rest until I find out the identities of those behind these dirty tricks they obviously learned from their apartheid masters and handlers.”

City Press understands that another woman, a friend of the accuser, was also drugged and raped, but has maintained her silence.

A source familiar with the details said a senior ANC official tried to facilitate the payment of psychiatric and medical bills for the affected women, but he changed his mind when one of the women demanded R200 000 for her silence.

“The another person said she will not report the matter because she has a steady boyfriend and did not want the issue to be known,” said a source.

City Press understands that the author of the letter has not reported the matter to the police, but intended to lay charges today.

In the letter, the alleged victim, whose details are known to the City Press, described the events that unfolded on April 14.

“On the 14th of April 2018, my then friend Papa Leshabane invited me for drinks at an apartment at Michael Angelo [Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton in Johannesburg]. It was a wonderful Saturday evening and a number of people were conversing and drinking.”

Leshabane, who is a Bosasa executive, told City Press: “I was not there when the alleged incident took place.”

The woman from Seshego in Limpopo wrote: “On Saturday morning of April 15th, I woke around 8.30am to get water from the kitchen, where you [Kodwa] walked in. I had just realised that you slept in one of the bedrooms. You made small talk and offered a drink; I said I had a slight hangover and that I should hydrate.

“You insisted that I should have a glass of champagne with you over a chat, which I did. I remember how you elaborated your admiration for me. You described how classy and well kept I was the previous night, you described where I sat, how I behaved and that you had been watching me. I expressed my disinterest as I was there as someone’s guest. We then spoke about my field of work and you suggested that we exchange numbers in case I needed any form of assistance in future.

“Within hours on the same morning, I received this inappropriate text from you, which I brushed off. Around that hour, my friend and I started feeling dizzy so we decided to nap. We wake up feeling unnaturally aroused; we are kissing and touching each other inappropriately, something we’ve never done. I still have a vivid memory of the scene, the images of that moment haunt me and hurt me so deeply. We are horny like possessed animals. I opened the door to Zizi and part of my memory is blank. A few hours later, we wake up to three men applauding that ‘it was going down here’. There were used condoms and your blue underwear on the floor. I remember this because you had been wearing the hotel robe loosely that morning.”

The letter continues: “We were supposed to have gone home hours ago, but I’m dizzy, my head is heavy and I really can’t make sense of much. There’s an odd pattern of sleep. Five hours in, up for 15 minutes, five hours asleep, up for a few minutes. This happened from those early hours of Sunday till early Monday (say 2am), when we could finally stand and make sense that we should go home. On Monday and Tuesday, we had intense hangovers. Nothing like we’ve have experienced before. My friend sees a [doctor] and gets a lot of painkillers and something to stop the feverish feeling. I was on my way to the bank that afternoon when I felt extreme hot flashes and nausea. I ran to the nearest toilet, where I vomited all over the place. I sat there throwing up for almost half an hour. I couldn’t breathe as there was vomit constantly coming up my airway, I thought I was going to collapse ... And still, I thought it’s a bad hangover.”

She continues: “I had a really strange feeling about the sequence of events that had happened since Sunday morning at that apartment. I discussed this with Papa Leshabane and we concluded that a lot doesn’t make sense, particularly my friend and I getting drunk for suspicious hours over one drink. He did his investigations and found out some individuals were taking Rohypnol, a date rape drug whose symptoms we had. I consulted the [doctor] at Sunninghill Clinic the following morning. After getting results that I was raped, they suggested I give a statement to the police. Papa asked me not to – this could blow up in the media – and that we should rather sort it out with you, the perpetrator.”

The woman said talks went on, settlements for incurred medical costs and trauma were discussed, but no promise was met for more than five months. She said they had tried to reach out to Kodwa many times.

“To date, when I see you on TV, when I hear your name and when people speak about you, the memories of the trauma just destroys me. I feel my womanhood and my integrity has been stolen by the pain you inflicted on me. I believe you must take responsibility for your actions.”

- Additional reporting by News24

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