File photo: Sizwe Ndingane
Johannesburg - A Mpumalanga African National Congress municipal councillor arrested this week for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl will be expelled from the party if he is found guilty on the rape charge, the ANC in the province said on Saturday.

ANC spokesman in the Nkangala region Sello Matshoga told the African News Agency (ANA) that the councillor had appeared in the Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court in Siyabuswa on Friday on a charge of rape. He would appear in the same court again on Thursday where he was expected to make a formal bail application.

“If we see that the State has a strong case against [the councillor] by presenting evidence in court and by successfully opposing bail we will advise him to resign from his position as a councillor and focus on the case.

“The ANC will then suspend [the councillor] and put him through an internal party disciplinary hearing. His ANC membership will be terminated if the court finds him guilty of the charge of rape,” Matshoga said.

The man was a municipal councillor in Siyabuswa in the Dr JS Moroka local municipality, where he allegedly raped the girl two weeks ago, he said.

However, Matshoga said the ANC was surprised by the fact that the mother of the rape victim opened the case of rape against the councillor two weeks after the alleged rape took place.

“If the mother found out that her child was raped, why did she wait for two weeks before opening the case?” Matshoga asked.

“We spoke to [the councillor] as the ANC and he denied raping the girl. We don’t want to jump the gun, but will wait for the police and the court to do their work. I am not sure how old the girl is, but she might be aged between 16 and 18,” he said.

Mpumalanga police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed that a 44-year-old man had been arrested for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl.

“The suspect was arrested this week and remanded in custody after appearing in court. He will appear in court again on Thursday for a formal bail application,” said Hlathi. 
African News Agency