More than a decade after President Jacob Zuma stood trial for the rape of now deceased Fezekile Kuzwayo, his number two man, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said he believes her allegations were true.
Ramaphosa, who is a frontrunner in the race to be the next president of the ANC, said that while he takes into account the outcome of the trial – which saw Zuma acquitted of all charges – he also believes Kuzwayo's testimony.
"I have to go with the outcome of the case and the outcome of the case led to the acquittal of [Zuma]. At the same time, I have to pay heed to what [Kuzwayo] also said in court. I have to deal with both issues," he said.
"I know how difficult it is for a woman to garner the courage to say, 'yes, I was raped'... It must be the most difficult decision a woman has to make... so yes, I would believe her."
Ramaphosa was speaking at a townhall gathering hosted by Radio702 on Thursday evening. He also spoke about issues of corruption, economic development, factionalism and vote-buying.
These are some of his best answers to questions he faced by journalist, Karima Brown:
- On the economy:
"Confidence in our economy has been eroding over a number of years, it has been whittling down...part of it is the global economic situation but we've also had our own challenges. We've eroded confidence in the business community by what we do...policy uncertainty is one of those," he said.
"The issue of political will becomes a lot easier when all of us are pointing in the same direction...personal interests and side interests and state capture has been very much an ingredient in all this."
- On ANC officials involved in dodgy dealings with private entities:
"The ANC is not up for sale and we will make sure it is never for sale...When the ANC determines and arrives at a policy position, it must be implemented... The ANC's image is sacrosanct and we must protect it, we must defend it," he said.
- On Zuma found wanting in terms of the constitution:
"We need to heed the decisions of our Constitutional Court... We stand corrected by the Constitutional Court and we will make sure that we never fall foul of our Constitution ever again," he said.
- On whether he will stand for another position should he lose the presidential race:
"If I'm not successful, I will have to reflect on whether I should be deployed elsewhere or in the same position. I will have to reflect. It is the ANC that should deploy us. Right now, the talent that I have has been utilized effectively as deputy president," he said.
- On vote buying and manipulation:
"The new disease that has come into the ANC. The utilization of money at election time to buy votes is really concerning. It is going to dilute democracy within our organisation. We have been hearing stories that people are being approached with loads of money, some of it between 50000 to 10000 per delegate. It looks like a lot is at stake for this election," he said.