Zuma takes aim at Redi Tlhabi, says she wants to label him a rapist

Former president Jacob Zuma at the commission of inquiry into state capture where he is testifying. Picture: AP
Former president Jacob Zuma at the commission of inquiry into state capture where he is testifying. Picture: AP

Giving his much awaited testimony before the Zondo commission on Monday, former president Jacob Zuma claimed there has been a “coordinated attempt to assassinate” his character, including branding him as a rapist.

Zuma said journalist Redi Thlabi was working on a film about the rape trial in which Zuma was acquitted.

He described the purpose of the film as being an effort at branding him a rapist.

“The movie Redi Thlabi is making is being done in the United States and is named ‘Raped by power’,” Zuma said.

Thlabi, a talk show host and member of the United Nations Global Journalists Corps took to Twitter and said “it had never crossed her mind to venture into films”.

She also said in a tweet: “Ok everyone now this is serious. My husband has just laughed at me twice in 24 hours. That’s not right. He called me, I pick up and he said ‘hawu baby, why are you denying me all the juicy news? So you are a spy? And you are making a movie? In fact what’s your real name?”

Zuma was accused of raping Fezekile Ntsujela Khuzwayo, known as Khwezi, in 2005 while he was still deputy president.

He pleaded not guilty and claimed that the sex was consensual. He was later acquitted of the crime.

While giving his testimony before the commission, Zuma claimed that Thlabi was “part of the external forces trying to destroy him”.

In 2017, Thlabi released a book titled Khwezi: The Remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.

The book became an overnight bestseller.

Zuma loyalists attacked Thlabi both publicly and privately.

Zuma also claimed that former public service and administration minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi of being a spy who was recruited while he was a student in Lesotho. Ramatlhodi, when giving testimony before the commission in November last year, accused Zuma of auctioning his executive authority to the Gupta family.

The former president said there were many “individuals even in the ANC” who were “trying to assassinate his character”.

He claimed that these attempts have been made for over “20 years now”.

The former president was testifying before the commission “under protest” since the commission’s legal team had requested him to appear before it to give his version of events following eight witnesses having directly implicated him.

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