Publication: The Citizen Issued: Date: 2006-05-08 Reporter: Sapa

Zuma Not Guilty



The Citizen





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Johannesburg - Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape by the Johannesburg High Court on Monday.

Judge Willem van der Merwe said he had accepted Zuma’s version of the case.

This case vindicated his ruling to allow the complainant’s previous sexual history, the judge said.

Crowds of Zuma supporters outside the court building were ecstatic when they heard of his acquittal.

Punching their fists into the air they shouted “Zuma, Zuma”.

A core of the group were standing on a police armoured vehicle and ordered off, whereupon they climbed onto the roof of Innes Chambers building.

People cheered, waving their shirts from the roofs of buildings and climbing onto police cars.

Van der Merwe said pressure groups and individuals should not jump to conclusions and express criticism before having heard all the evidence.

“The question can also be asked: ‘Why would the complainant allege that she was raped by the accused when it was in fact consensual sex that took place?

“Why would a woman in her position go through all the trauma in terms of the trial and publicity when she was not really raped? It is this respect that the reference to previous false rape allegations become of the utmost importance.”

The judge added that from the evidence as a whole it was clear “that the accused’s version should be believed and accepted.

“The accused’s evidence was also clear and convincing inspite of efforts to discredit him.”

Van der Merwe accepted evidence that the woman had previously made false rape claims against men she had sexual relationships with.

He rejected the evidence of two policemen, saying he was not impressed by them and can therefore not accept their version of how the guest bedroom was pointed out as the “crime scene” by Zuma.

Van der Merwe said there was a clear breach of Zuma’s constitutional rights in the way the police had treated him.

He also rejected the testimony of trauma specialist Merle Friedman, saying she had not make full enquiries into the woman’s past. She had also not used psychometric tests available to her to make a sound judgment of the woman’s character.

Van der Merwe said the complainant was not as meek and mild as she had attempted to make out when she said Zuma raped her.

He said it was totally unacceptable for a man to have unprotected sex with anybody except his regular partner.

With acknowledgement to Sapa and The Citizen.