South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is being touted to take over from President Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa has not yet assumed office but he is already attracting controversies.

He said he is convinced that Zuma actually raped the woman that accused him of the act in 2006.

Zuma was found not guilty of raping Fezekile Kuzwayo in 2006, before he became president in 2009.

"The outcome of the case led to the acquittal of President Jacob Zuma,” Ramaphosa said in a radio interview late on Thursday.

Pushed on whether he believed Kuzwayo’s allegations, he said: “I know how difficult and painful it is for a woman to garner the courage to stand up and say ‘Yes I was raped’.

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“It must be one of the most difficult decisions she has to make, so yes, I would believe her.”

Ramaphosa, who has been Zuma’s deputy since 2014, is competing with Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become the ANC leader at a party conference starting on December 16.

President Zuma’s office issued a terse statement on Friday, saying that the verdict at his trial was clear.

"The rape allegations against President Zuma were properly considered by a judge of the High Court," it said.

“Having evaluated the totality of the evidence, the court acquitted the president of the rape charges.”

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