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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 14:51 GMT
SA court hears of 'rape' by Zuma
Former SA deputy president Jacob Zuma
Mr Zuma had been seen as a possible future president
The woman who says she was raped by former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma has told a court about the night she spent in his home.

Mr Zuma pleaded not guilty but said he had consensual sex with the woman.

Hundreds of Mr Zuma's supporters, as well as anti-rape activists, gathered outside court as the trial got under way after a three-week break.

Three judges assigned to the case have stood down - one of them because his sister had a child fathered by Mr Zuma.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified, says she was raped by Mr Zuma while visiting his home in Johannesburg's Forest Town suburb in November last year.

The complainant had a mobile phone and could have left at any time
Jacob Zuma's statement
She said she has known Mr Zuma from the age of five and regarded him as a father figure.

The woman, an Aids activist, told a closed session of the Johannesburg High Court that she was spending the night in the guest room when Mr Zuma entered the room and offered to "tuck her in" and massage her.

The woman said she replied: "I'm already asleep, I'll see you tomorrow."

'Political pressure'

She said Mr Zuma then removed the bed cover from her and began to massage her.

"I said: 'No'. After I said this, he didn't stop massaging me. At that point I opened my eyes and saw that he was naked".

Anti-rape campaigners
Anti-rape campaigners are backing the alleged victim

She said Mr Zuma went on to rape her.

She also said that she had been "pressured" by various people and had been offered money to drop her accusations.

"One said: 'Do you know what this will do to the ANC?'," she said.

Earlier, Mr Zuma's lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, read out a statement setting out Mr Zuma's version of events:

"The complainant visited my home on 2 November of her own volition. We had sexual intercourse for some time - it was consensual.

"Mr Zuma's daughter was in the house at the time. The complainant had a mobile phone and could have left at any time," the statement said.

Outside, the crowd of supporters was smaller than at Mr Zuma's first appearance three weeks ago, and an increased police presence kept the demonstrators at a distance from the Johannesburg High Court.

Before proceedings began, a red minibus with the popular pro-Zuma song, Msholozi, blaring from speakers mounted on the roof got through the police cordon.

A tense stand-off followed before police persuaded the driver to leave the restricted area.

Support waned

Mr Zuma - a veteran of the ANC struggle to end apartheid and a favourite of the party's left wing - was once thought a likely successor to Thabo Mbeki as South African president.

But the allegations and of rape as well as corruption - for which he will go on trial in July - are thought by many to have ended that prospect.

Mr Zuma remains deputy leader of the ruling ANC although it has been agreed that he should not perform any executive functions.

His support has waned since rape charges were laid, but he remains a popular politician.

Mr Zuma's supporters say the charges against him are the result of a conspiracy.

The court case opened briefly on 13 February, but the case was adjourned the same day, as the judge stepped down at the defence's request.

A second judge withdrew for personal reasons, and a third because of the complication over Mr Zuma's son by the judge's sister.

The trial continues.


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