JOHANNESBURG - Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday said she has taken personal responsibility for the appointment of President Jacob Zuma, but doesn't think blame should be assigned to individuals.
Sisulu, in an interview with 702's Eusebius McKaiser, spoke on her role in the appointment of President Jacob Zuma, the president's rape scandal and her candidacy for the presidency.
"I think we all should take responsibility for the fact that President Jacob Zuma is the president of the country and I don't know why we would want to segregate it down to individuals," she said.
"I have taken responsibility and particularly because I was part of the factions that went to the conference in Mangaung, in Polokwane in 2007 and we firmly believed that Jacob Zuma would offer us the solution we needed. Because he was the last of the NEC of Oliver Tambo, he had the necessary background and standing in the ANC and we thought he would be there to assist to make sure we could take the country out of the problem that it had."
"It was untenable for us that President Mbeki would go for a third term - it is unconstitutional in the ANC, so we had to stop it and our best bet was Jacob Zuma."
On whether Zuma should step down, Sisulu said: "I think that he realises that it's time for him to go. I would like him to take that decision himself. One of the reasons we ended up with COPE is because we as the NEC took a decision that Thabo Mbeki should step down and in retrospect, we could've done it differently."
When asked about whether she believed Khwezi, who in 2005 accused the president of rape, Sisulu said: "I understood the outcome of this particular unfortunate debacle to have been one where perhaps there was a misunderstanding of intent."
"I believe Khewzi. Khwezi was brought up with my children, she would be like a daughter to me and I am one of those people that were affected by this matter and did whatever we could to assist and understand what the situation was. But beyond Khwezi, I am deeply, deeply concerned about any violence against women."
The minister explained her position: "I don't know where the legality and the personal intersect, but I believe there was a very strong relationship between the president and Khwezi."
"I don't know where the misunderstanding took place. I really don't know where the miscommunication took place, but for all intents and purposes, Khwezi was like one of President Zuma's children."
"I believe she believes she was raped," Sisulu clarified and said she did not have sufficient evidence to make a decision on whether Khwezi had actually been raped.
"I know both parties firmly believed what they said."
President Jacob Zuma was acquitted of the rape charge in 2006.