Johannesburg - ANC members in Gauteng are at each others throats following a rape charge laid against a Joburg ANC councillor who is believed to be a strong Jacob Zuma supporter and former ANC Youth League leader in the metro.
Sparks flew on Sunday as the ANC Youth League accused the Joburg ANC of having meddled in the criminal case.
The ANCYL in Alexandra issued a strongly worded statement against ANC members in Joburg for allegedly being behind the rape charge brought against its former leader – who in terms of the Sexual Offences Act cannot be named at this stage, until he pleads to the charge.
The suspect is due to make his first appearance in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on Sunday and be formally charged following allegations laid against him by a Tembisa based complainant – who is believed to be his girlfriend.
The alleged offence apparently happened on Christmas Day when the two spent the night at the suspect’s house in Alexandra. The two parted on December 26 while the suspect went on holiday the same day.
The suspect is an ANC branch executive member of Zone 13 in Alexandra and was on holiday in KwaZulu-Natal when one of the Joburg regional executive members allegedly called him and alerted him about the impending rape charge against him, even before police made a formal arrest.
The ANCYL Zone 13 chairman Thabang “Sankara” Lediga was also angered by the press statement issued by the Greater Joburg ANC secretary Dada Morero and ANC Zone 13 secretary Banele Sangcozi who urged the courts not to release the suspect on bail.
The ANC also vowed to hold protest marches at the court in support of the alleged victim.
But the Youth League aggrieved accused their party leaders of meddling in the case.
Lediga said they could confirm after engaging with the “accused” that he was ready and committed to participate in all due processes to clear his name.
“As the ANC Youth League Greater Alexandra we must state that we are fast losing confidence in the process in that the case has already been tampered with by senior ANC leaders, advancing their own divisions that are taking place in the ANC in Greater Joburg.
“We have seen time and time again the phenomenon of politicians using the judicial system to settle political scores and we fear that this case may be part of a long running series of attacks committed to the onslaught on the character of the accused.
“We are furthermore concerned by the intention by certain ANC leaders to pressure the court processes to deny him bail and treat the case with bias. This undue and unfair pressure will prejudice the rights of all involved, to a fair process,” Lediga said.
Their outrage came after Morero issued a statement saying his party was extremely disgusted and outraged to learn about the allegation of rape against its PR Councillor.
“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.
“The ANC stands with the 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 … 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 as soon as formal charges have been confirmed through the court of law.
The ANC calls on its members to disassociate themselves with anyone who is an alleged perpetrator for gender-based violence against women and children in safeguarding and promoting its core values and no ANC member or a leader should find themselves supporting alleged perpetrators as they appear in court.
“No ANC regalia should be worn by anyone who will go to court to support the alleged perpetrator. Ours is to support the victim until justice is done,” Morero said.
Following his arrest and pending court appearance, Sangcozi made a call to the suspect to step down as the ANC councillor in the City of Joburg.
These disputes came as the ANC national executive committee is expected to hold its first national executive meeting to discuss the fate of all its members facing criminal charges in courts of law. One of the items billed is the recommendation of the Integrity Committee under veteran George Mashamba to place the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule on suspension following criminal charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering against him.