JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s deputy president and a top contender to take over the ruling party says he would believe the young woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape more than a decade ago.
The rape allegation has haunted Zuma for years despite his acquittal in court and has remained a popular topic in South Africa as the #MeToo movement spreads.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told local radio station 702 that he “would believe” Fezekile Kuzwayo, who accused Zuma before he became president in 2009.
The ruling African National Congress party will choose a new leader this month, and that person likely will become South Africa’s next president in 2019. Ramaphosa and Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are leading candidates for the post.
The president’s office on Friday responded to Ramaphosa’s comments, saying in a statement that the presidency affirms “the primacy of the courts as the final arbiters in disputes in society.”