IEC apologises to Zuma for anti-rape protest

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File: Four young women went to the front of the stage and held placards that referred to President Jacob Zumas rape trial in 2006.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said it has apologised to President Jacob Zuma for the anti-rape protest by four women during his speech, which was broadcast live on television.

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IEC deputy chairman Terry Tselane on Monday said on Twitter the commission was “greatly compromised” by protest.

“Protests are protected by the constitution (without talking about the merits and demerits of the protest) but IEC was greatly compromised.”

In a another tweet, Tselane said: “The protest on Saturday took the IEC by surprise and if we knew we would have handled it differently. We apologised to the President [Jacob Zuma]”.

Four young women who were manning the EFF desk at the IEC results centre throughout the week, went to the front of the stage and held placards that referred to Zuma’s rape trial in 2006.

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They held up placards that read “10 years later”, “Remember Khwezi”, “I am one in 3,” and “Khanga” while the President delivered his speech. The placards were in apparent reference to Zuma’s rape trial a decade ago.

Zuma was acquitted of raping a then 31-year-old HIV-positive family friend at his home in Johannesburg in 2005.

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Facing the audience with their backs to the President, the women continued their silent protest for the duration of his short speech. He seemed oblivious to the protest as he spoke.

The women were bundled away by the presidential protection services after Zuma left the podium.

The protest angered the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), whose president Bathabile Dlamini blamed the IEC and demanded answers about the protest.

One of the women, Simamkele Dlakavu, an EFF member and an anti-rape activist later tweeted “We are all okay. Thank you RememberKhwezi”.

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