Political parties raise concerns about criminal justice system after Khwezi's passing

Activists, political parties & members of the public have sent messages of condolences to her family.

Four female EFF members holding placards in front of the stage as President Jacob Zuma delivers his address at the IEC national results centre in Pretoria. The placards refer to the woman named "Khwezi" who accused Zuma of rape in 2005. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As many mourn the death of Fezekile Kuzwayo, the woman known as Khwezi, political parties have raised concerns about the criminal justice system and its ability to defend rape victims.

Kuzwayo, who is the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005, died from an unknown illness on Saturday.

Feminist activists, political parties and members of the public have sent messages of condolences to her family, who have described her as a pillar of hope for many women.

The Economic Freedom Fighters says South Africa needs to pay homage to Kuzwayo by increasing its efforts to fight the abuse of women and rape in particular.

The Democratic Alliance says Kuzwayo will be remembered as a source of strength for women who are let down by what it says is an inefficient criminal justice system.

Congress of the People's Dennis Bloem says the 41-year-old, who was the child of a freedom fighter was robbed of that freedom when she was forced into exile following Zuma' acquittal.

"She will rest in peace but those who hunted Khwezi will never be left in peace."

Others who have reflected on Kuzwayo's life say she was not only let down by the criminal justice system but by society which failed to protect her.

Gender researcher and activist Nomboniso Gasa said Khwezi was a brave woman who was let down, by not only the justice system, but by society.

"There are so many aspects of this particular case we could've pursued and ensured that President Zuma did not become the head of state of South Africa."