Courage under fire: Cheryl Zondi's press conference in five quotes

20 March 2019 - 06:39 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Cheryl Zondi briefs the media on the latest developments in the trial of her alleged rapist, Timothy Omotoso.
Cheryl Zondi briefs the media on the latest developments in the trial of her alleged rapist, Timothy Omotoso.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times.

Cheryl Zondi will not let the possibility of a new trial against Timothy Omotoso deter her from seeking justice, she said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Zondi, who previously testified in the case against the controversial pastor, said she would take to the stand again if need be, after the judge recused himself from the trial.

Her remarks have received applause from supporters and activist groups. 

Here's a wrap of some of her key points:

Choosing to testify

"I was given the choice and that is what I chose to do. But I must admit that I did underestimate the impact that it would have on my life and on me as a human being. I was oblivious to the fact that the people of our country hadn't seen a rape case in South Africa unfolding in real time, with the actual accuser exposing herself on the stand."

Public reaction

"I did anticipate some hate speech here and there, some naysayers and some support - but I didn't expect the flood of support that I got."

Trial experience

"I was re-traumatised. I got a defence lawyer asking me about centimetres, telling me that I wanted to get raped and basically making me feel like I was the one on trial."

Death threats 

"I was told that there was a half-a-million-rand hit on my head because I dared speak my truth. I had to move away from my home and from my family that was keeping me safe to avoid imminent death."

Witness protection

"All of this was happening and the state did nothing. I had the witness protection programme, after waiting for them to contact me for weeks, telling me to change my name, move to the middle of nowhere, drop out of school - reinforcing this lousy 'victims must hide' mentality. Contrary to what was being said, I was never, ever in witness protection because it's a system that just doesn't work."


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