Nzimande warns against gender-based violence claims in ANC faction battle
Politics / 25 February 2019, 09:20am / Mayibongwe Maqhina and Baldwin Ndaba
Johannesburg - As the ANC Women’s League pushed for acting ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa to be suspended over sex allegations, the SACP has warned against “apparent” use of gender-based violence in factional battles in the party.
Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters, on Sunday expressed concern after another of its spokespersons, Kodwa, was accused of sexual assault, hours after Pule Mabe was cleared of allegations of sexual harassment.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, without mentioning Kodwa, insisted that it was essential for the law enforcement agencies, in similar matters, to determine whether the allegations were a hoax or not.
“The central committee reaffirmed its stance against gender-based violence and the importance of organisations throughout our society taking disciplinary steps in relation to any such allegations.
“The central committee, however, warned against the apparent use of allegations of gender-based violence in factional leadership battles,” he said.
“Nothing should undermine the seriousness of sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence as a violation of women’s fundamental human rights,” Nzimande added, speaking after the party’s central committee meeting in Joburg at the weekend.
Kodwa’s matter was likely to be discussed when the ANC’s national working committee meets on Monday.
Acting ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete said it was unfortunate that Kodwa, a national executive committee member, was implicated in sexual assault days after another spokesperson, Pule Mabe, was cleared of sexual harassment of his personal assistant.
“It is a matter of concern. It is unfortunate our leaders are implicated in such things. We take these allegations seriously and it is a matter we will follow and establish the facts,” he said.
Women’s league secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said while they took into account the principle of innocent until proved guilty, the league was resolute in supporting the victims of sexual harassment and rape.
“The ANC must engage the SAPS to find out if there is any case reported against Comrade Zizi and consider suspending him from all ANC duties with immediate effect pending the outcome of the case,” Matuba said.
However, in a statement Kodwa rubbished the sex allegations, claiming they were part of dirty tricks in the factional battles within the governing party.
“I wish to expose and condemn this feeble yet dangerous attempt at political blackmail and manipulation, orchestrated by elements wishing to turn our politics into a jungle, a place for apartheid-like dirty tricks to silence others,” he said.
Kodwa also said he was seeking legal advice on the possible extortion or defamation, or any legal remedy. “I will not rest until I find out the identities of those behind this dirty trick they obviously learnt from their apartheid masters and handlers.”
On Saturday, the ANC confirmed receiving a letter of complaint from a woman who made the allegations against Kodwa. She was advised to report the allegations to the law enforcement agencies as it was not a party-related issue.
In the letter addressed to Kodwa, the woman said she was invited by businessman for drinks to an apartment in Sandton on April 14 last year. “That evening around midnight I decided to go sleep in one of the bedrooms because I had enough to drink.”
She said the next morning she met Kodwa, who offered her a drink. “You insisted I should have a glass of champagne with you… which I did. I remember you elaborate your admiration for me, you described how classy and well-kept I was the previous night.” She told how she and her friend felt dizzy and slept.
“A few hours later we woke up to three men applauding that ‘it was going down here’. There were used condoms and your blue underwear on the floor…”