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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU statement on the charging of the ANC Deputy President with rape

06 Dec 2005

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted that ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma has today been charged with rape in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.

COSATU welcomes this development. It will put an end to the speculation in the media, afford the alleged victim an opportunity to pursue justice in a court of law, and afford the accused the same opportunity to defend himself in court. We also note that he has denied the charges.

We call on all, including the media, to respect the rights of both the alleged victim and the accused. Our constitution and laws protect both the alleged victim and perpetrator, with no exceptions. No attempt should be made to prejudge or prejudice either of them. We regret that both parties involved in this matter have already been heavily prejudiced by some in the media.

COSATU has always been implacably opposed to the abuse of women, especially to the despicable crime of rape. We are participating strongly in the 16 days of activism against the abuse of women and children. A charge of rape is very serious, and anyone prov ed guilty deserves the severest punishment.

Should the allegations against the ANC Deputy President be proven to be correct, COSATU will demand the appropriate sentence, just as we do in all cases involving sexual and other forms of abuse of women and children.

COSATU has noted that the ANC Deputy President has issued a statement that he will suspend his participation in the position of leadership of the ANC until the rape trial is over. COSATU fully supports his decision. It is the right thing to do. Any leader accused of such a hideous crime must at least take leave until such time that the allegations have been proven to be correct or incorrect.

We note that he does this not because the ANC constitution or any structure asked him to do so, but because of his adherence to his own teachings on revolutionary morality. Obviously he will be able to resume his responsibilities as ANC Deputy President on ce he has been found not guilty in court.

In this regard we call for a speedy trial and the conclusion of this matter as soon as practically possible, bearing in mind the public interest on the matter and the need to ensure that the victim and the ANC Deputy President are not prejudiced by unneces sary delays.

COSATU strongly believes that the rape allegations are separate from the corruption charges that the ANC Deputy President faces. These are two different matters and must be treated as such. COSATU firmly stands by its decision to support the ANC Deputy Pre sident on the alleged corruption case. We believe he was not treated fairly and that his chances of receiving a fair trial are very slim or non existent. We shall continue to pursue the demands of our Central Committee in this regard.

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