Johannesburg - The City of Joburg’s ANC councillor charged with rape was released on bail within 30 minutes after his first appearance in the Wynberg Regional Court on Monday.
The accused, who in terms of the Sexual Offences Act cannot be named until he has pleaded, appeared very calm in court. He walked from the holding cells in leg irons to face the prosecutor, who was expected to oppose bail as the case was a Schedule 5 offence.
A Schedule 5 offence carries a minimum sentence of 10 to 20 years but the accused appeared unfazed as the magistrate, Gideon Schnetler, explained the severity of the charge against him.
State Prosecutor Ayanda Bakana said the investigating officer had confirmed the address of the accused. Bakana also said the accused did not have any previous convictions or pending cases against him.
The prosecution opted not to oppose bail.
Outlining the nature of the allegations against the accused, Bakana said: “The victim alleges that she visited her friend (the accused) on Christmas Day in Alexandra. She said the offence happened in the early hours of December 26. Later on that day, the accused and his friend took her to her place of residence in Tembisa.
“The next day, she went for a medical observation and was supplied with the J88 form (medical certificate). She only reported the case on December 28, ” Bakana said.
This prompted Schnetler to ask the prosecution whether the victim had given any explanation for the late reporting of the criminal case. Bakana said no.
He was adamant the State, despite agreeing to bail, had a strong case against the accused.
The case was postponed until February 22.
Outside the court two factions of the ANC in Joburg were out in their numbers. One group supported the accused – mainly members of the ANC Youth League – and the others supporting the victim were from the ANC Women’s League led by their Joburg regional chairperson Ndivhuwo Sekoba.
Video: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency
The Women’s League members insisted the court should not release the accused on bail and said incidents of gender-based violence were surging in Joburg and the country.
But the Youth League was adamant the charge against its former leader were politically motivated and claimed that certain leaders within the Joburg ANC leadership had orchestrated the charges.
ANCYL members broke into song and mocked Women’s League members after the accused was released on bail.