EXCLUSIVE: Zuma demands to know: Did Khwezi get paid for rape evidence?
His lawyers have asked or information on 'any' payments to his rape accuser - a request the NPA has rejected
Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers are taking the National Prosecuting Authority to court in an attempt to force the NPA to reveal, among other things, whether it or anyone else made any payments to his rape accuser after she opened a case against him.
The move has been slammed by former Zuma rape case prosecutor Charin de Beer, who says any suggestion that Fezeka Kuzwayo – who was known as “Khwezi” – was paid to go ahead with the case is “absolute nonsense”.
Kuzwayo, who fled overseas after Zuma was acquitted of raping her in 2006, died in October 2016.
Zuma’s lawyers told the NPA that they needed answers about any payments made to Kuzwayo – as well as 38 other categories of information – because the former president “intends to bring an application for the permanent stay of the prosecution against him, based inter alia on pre-trial irregularities committed by the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority, as well as on both charge delay and trial delay, leading to irremediable prejudice”.
In a letter written to the NPA by Zuma’s attorney Daniel Mantsha in July this year, the former president’s lawyers ask for “full details of all payments made to, for, or on behalf of the complainant [Kuzwayo] in the S v Zuma rape trial … from the date of the complaint on November 2005 to the 31st of August 2008”.
The letter continues: “If the NPA has arranged for such payments by others or are aware of any public monies being expended for this purpose without it making such payments, full details thereof are required.”
Mantsha told Times Select that the requests for information about the existence of payments from the NPA to Kuzwayo were “about prosecutorial integrity and independence”.
“It is the conduct of the NPA in matters concerning our client which is a grave cause of concern to him. It is not about [Kuzwayo], but about the conduct of the NPA in that case,” he said.
Asked if Zuma’s team was in any way suggesting that Kuzwayo had been part of the NPA plot that Zuma has persistently claimed was launched against him, Mantsha said it would be “proper to deal with any of your questions in this regard after our application is issued in court”.
While correspondence sent by the NPA to Zuma’s lawyers earlier this month does not answer questions about Kuzwayo, De Beer has denied knowing of the NPA making any such payments to her - “with the rider that there may have been Witness Protection Programme payments from the police or witness fees paid to her”.
“And I also know that if she had received any other payment, she would definitely have told me, or written in her diary about it,” she said.
Times Select has seen Kuzwayo’s diary from the period of the rape case. There are no mentions of her receiving any money from the NPA.
De Beer believes the question suggests that Zuma’s lawyers are driven by the belief that the NPA paid Kuzwayo to press ahead with the case against Zuma – a claim she says has no basis whatsoever. She is adamant that any suggestion that the NPA’s pursuit of Zuma for the rape matter were driven by political motives are “absolute nonsense”.
“She was not paid to lay that complaint. There was nothing like that. She was raped. There’s no question in my mind to this day,” she said.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku declined to comment on the state’s position on Zuma’s request, saying that the matter was now headed to court and it would be inappropriate to do so.
In a letter sent to Zuma’s lawyers on September 25, acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Silas Ramaite refused the latest in a series of demands by Zuma’s lawyers for the state to hand over information they say is needed for his permanent stay application. Ramaite told Zuma’s lawyers they will have to bring a formal application to access information outside of what is contained in the police docket against him, and which includes information in relation to the state’s rape case against the former president.
That court process will almost certainly delay Zuma’s permanent stay application, which was due to be launched in November.
Zuma’s supporters, including former deputy defence minister Kebby Maphatsoe, have claimed that Kuzwayo was used as a “honey trap” by Zuma’s political enemies. In 2016, Maphatsoe was ordered to pay R500,000 in defamation damages to former intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, whom he stated had orchestrated the rape charge against Zuma and had “sent” Kuzwayo to the then ANC deputy president.
Kasrils told Times Select at the weekend that he had “never provided Fezekile Kuzwayo with funds – whether state or personal”.
“Following my successful lawsuit against Kebby Maphatsoe, I donated funds he had paid me through my attorney Jenny Friedman to Fezeka’s mother for her upkeep at a frail care home. This was after Fesekile had died. I had publicly declared after winning that lawsuit that the proceeds would go to the then living Fesekile.”
Zuma’s lawyers have also told the NPA that they require certain of the information they’ve requested to investigate “a case based on Executive interference and the independence of the offices of the NDPP and the NPA”.
They are seeking the following from the NPA as part of that case:
Information about the Scorpions’ disavowed Browse Mole Report on Zuma, which included claims that the Angolan intelligence establishment planned covertly for him in his presidency bid, including questions about whether the NPA spent money on that report;
All the documents that informed then NPA head Vusi Pikoli’s 2006 decision to charge Zuma, following the corruption conviction of his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik, as well as records linked to then acting NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe’s decision to recharge him after the ANC’s Polokwane elective conference;
Copies of all Zuma’s income tax returns obtained from SARS as part of the Scorpions’ investigation, “including the request for such copies from SARS and who agreed to the released of such documentation”;
Copies of all correspondence, notes, memoranda, minutes and records relating to Zuma’s SARS income tax returns, as well as evidence of SARS approval of, and consent to, “the current prosecution of Zuma for tax offenses”;
Information about whether Mpshe met or discussed Zuma with the minister of justice or then president Thabo Mbeki between October 1 2007 to December 31 2007;
Information related to any efforts by the Scorpions to fight their eventual dissolution, as well as the resignation of former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy. McCarthy and former NPA head Bulelani Ngcukaitobi were recorded discussing the timing of Zuma being re-indicted on the so-called “Spy Tapes”; and
Documentation related to the costs that the state estimated it would have to pay in prosecuting Zuma.