A backlash has already begun to President Jacob Zuma’s latest claims that the Nkandla upgrades were a necessary security measure after his house was burned and his wife was raped.
At an ANC breakfast this morning, the South African President made the revelation that his wife had been raped over ten years ago at his private Nkandla home, and insinuated this was one of the reasons for the controversial upgrades to his homestead…which were made at great cost to the country’s taxpayers.
He said that prior to becoming President of South Africa his house had been burned twice and that criminals had broken in and raped his wife. This occurred during his tenor as MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism in KwaZulu Natal between 1994-1999.
According to members of the press who tweeted about the event, Zuma said that when he subsequently became President it was therefore necessary to increase security.
Although the incident was known to many, it was not made public knowledge because rape victims cannot be identified. This is apparently why it was not included in the Nkandla Report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Many South Africans have taken to social media platforms to voice their responses to President Zuma’s revelations, including Gauteng business analyst Tshepo Motsitsi who had this to say (republished here with Tshepo’s kind permission):
“More than 10 years ago I found out that Jacob Zuma’s wife was raped at his homestead. Today I’m baffled that the media did not know about the incident which happened before 1999. When I found out I was told that the family had asked for privacy and even in ANC circles it was only whispered about and not discussed openly.
“But I must admit that hearing Zuma speak of it today makes me question his motives. Why bring it up in justification of Nkandla upgrades? This also makes me wonder what security measures Zuma himself had put in place in the years following the rape?
“I abhor rape and have written about my stand against rape. As such I find Zuma’s invocation of his wife’s rape as a justification for misuse of state funds deplorable. In my view he is using a heinous crime for political mileage.”
The President also used the breakfast session to claim that the Nkandla upgrade does not affect voters and did not play a major part in the elections. He pointed out that he had not been found guilty of misconduct.