GAUTENG: A Joburg ANC councillor is to appear in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on Monday on a charge of rape following his arrest on New Year’s Day.
The suspect, who in terms of the Sexual Offences Act cannot be named until he pleads to the charge, is due to make his first appearance in court and be formally charged following allegations made against him by a Tembisa-based complainant.
The alleged offence apparently occurred when the two spent the night at the suspect’s house in Alexandra. The two parted on December 26, and the suspect went on holiday that day.
The suspect is an executive member of an ANC branch in Zone 13 in Alexandra, and was on holiday when one of his fellow executive members of the branch informed him about the impending charge against him.
Following his arrest and pending court appearance, ANC Zone 13 branch secretary Banele Sangcozi called on the suspect to step down as an ANC councillor in the City of Joburg.
“Our last national conference was clear on what political office bearers must do when found in a compromised position. We call on the comrade to step down as a councillor and BEC (branch executive committee) member. If he fails to do that, we call on the greater Johannesburg regional executive committee (REC) to immediately suspend him and institute disciplinary proceedings.
“It is selfish of compromised comrades to refuse to step aside and attempt to drag the organisation into the mud. We call on the REC to provide the required practical clarity in how to deal with this comrade. Hopefully, upper structures will learn (of the alleged offence) and act accordingly,” Sangcozi said.
He said they would not defend the “accused” in any way “because we believe the justice system is fair and will allow them a fair, unbiased hearing”.
Sangcozi said they would hold a protest march when “the accused appears (in court) and call on the courts not to grant him bail”.
“The scourge of gender-based violence is a sad reality and everything must be done to protect the vulnerable as well as victims. It is for this reason that as the ANC, we will provide support and protection for the alleged victim in this case. We will ensure that she does not get intimidated, gets all the psychological support she needs and testifies to the best of her ability.
“The ANC pleads with members and the community of Alexandra to allow the matter to be settled with the relevant authorities since processes have already been initiated.
“Once the court proceedings are exhausted , the ANC will consider action to be taken accordingly,” Sangcozi said.
He said the party would request that the protection of the alleged victim be prioritised.
The Greater Joburg ANC has also urged law enforcement authorities to act swiftly against the suspect.
“The ANC refuses to be complicit in the dehumanisation and abuse of women. We reject with absolute contempt the further marginalisation and violence meted on women. A woman’s body is not a playground nor is it a crime scene,” Greater Joburg regional secretary Dada Morero said.
“The ANC stands with the alleged victim and calls on law enforcement agencies to ensure that the alleged misogynist faces the full might of the law as we believe in the fairness and unbiasedness of the justice system of our country,” Morero said.
Morero said the ANC would decide on the status of the alleged perpetrator as a PR councillor and a branch leader once he had been charged in court.