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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Text: Jacob Zuma interview
Here is the text of an interview by the BBC's Peter Biles with former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, at his home in Johannesburg, following his acquittal on a rape charge on Monday.
Question: There were times during your rape trial when you looked less than confident about the outcome.

Jacob Zuma: No, I was quite certain about the outcome, that in a sense, would be borne out by the fact that I knew the truth. And I relied on the fact that Judge Van Der Merwe would be able to see the truth.

Jacob Zuma
Mr Zuma said it was up to the ANC to decide on his future

Q: In his summing up, the judge painted a picture of the complainant as a very disturbed young woman. He said that she'd been traumatised in the past, but why do you think she brought the rape charge against you?

Well that question has been asked a number of times, including in court, and I've given the answer that I don't know. But I'm convinced there was something behind her. As to what it was, I can only speculate.

As a citizen of this country, I've got to be honest to the people of South Africa - I apologise for having unprotected sex, and I said I erred, and for this I apologise

Q: Well, you've alluded to a campaign, even a conspiracy, against you. Was she part of that?

I wouldn't know. That's why I'm saying I can't answer that question because I don't know.

Q: On the subject of HIV/Aids, one students' organisation said, on the eve of the trial verdict, that you should apologise to the nation, and you have now done that.

JZ: I have done that, but not necessarily because they said so. By the time they said so, I'd long made up my mind about that issue.

Q: What are you apologising for exactly?

JZ: As a citizen of this country, I've got to be honest to the people of South Africa. I apologise for having unprotected sex. And I said I erred, and for this I apologise.

Q: Would you agree that you have set back the fight against HIV and Aids in this country?

Not necessarily, because it is the manner in which the reporting has been done that has created that impression.

Q: A wide spectrum of public opinion in this country believes that there are deep divisions within the African National Congress. Isn't it disingenuous to pretend otherwise?

The message is that we should do nothing - all of us - to the complainant, and I think she should be allowed to live in this country
Well I don't know what they mean by that. Even in court, I answered this question. Some people have been talking about "camps". And I've said that I know of no camps within the ANC. But I've read about it in the media, that there are camps.

Q: When did you last talk to President Thabo Mbeki, who was once one of your closest friends and allies?

No, he is one of my closest friends and allies.

Q: Still?

Of course, yes, but we haven't talked, and I've not been seeing him because I've been very busy. But even after I was out of the structures of the ANC, we did meet, and I think that at one point he did give me one or two calls.

Q: What message do you have now for the complainant who, clearly, is a woman whose future in this country must be in some doubt?

Well, the message is that we should do nothing - all of us - to the complainant. And I think she should be allowed to live in this country. She felt, for whatever reason, that it was her right to lay the complaints but I think she should be left to live freely.

Q: Do you think that you could still be the president of South Africa, after all that's happened ?

When I joined the ANC, I never thought I would be anything. In no way, did I say: "One day I could be the president. I think I am good material for the presidency". Not at all. We don't do this. The ANC will decide. Now I cannot at this time assume the position of the ANC and have an opinion about that because I would be doing something that is not the tradition of the ANC.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
A look at the career of Jacob Zuma



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