South Africa: Jacob Zuma Self Destructs? the Political Fortunes of the Former Deputy President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, Have Taken a Terrifying Nosedive after Allegations of Rape Were Leveled against Him by a Family Friend. Now His Bid to Become the Next President (after His Corruption Trial) Seems to Have Come to a Screeching Halt. Kgomotso Nyanto Reports
Nyanto, Kgomotso, New African
A 31-year-old woman might well become the nemesis of Jacob Zuma. She has alleged that on 2 November 2005, Zuma forced himself on her and raped her in his home in Johannesburg. She reported the matter two days later to the Hillbrow police in Johannesburg. Then all hell broke loose as newspapers fell over themselves for the big story, first reported by The Sunday Times (of South Africa) and initially taken with a pinch of salt. Then, under pressure from the media, the same (unnamed) woman was alleged to have retracted her allegation and asserted that she had not been raped after all. But then, she was again reported to have changed her mind and stood by the original allegation. She then went into hiding "under the protection of the state".
More drama was to follow when her underwear was sent to a forensic laboratory under tight security to be tested for semen. Reports said the result was positive and that the DNA found on it was Zuma's. The police then recommended that Zuma be charged. The prosecution service obliged. On 6 December, Zuma appeared before the Johannesburg Regional Court under tight security to answer the charge. The prosecution service said in a statement. "After due consideration of the facts in the relevant case docket, the National Prosecution Authority has decided that Jacob Zuma be arraigned in the Johannesburg Magistrates' Court on a charge of rape."
The political fallout has turned close allies against him. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have qualified their previous statements of "100% support for Zuma." The ANC Women's League has come out strongly against rape, and the ANC Youth League is busily doing a soul searching. Zuma, meanwhile, has retired to his home in Kwazulu Natal Province to ponder his future, leaving his lawyer to do most of the talking. He had indicated that he would step down as ANC deputy president if he was charged, denying him the ambition to become the ANC president and candidate for the 2009 elections. …