The ANC should be allowed to “deal with the matter” of it reinstating to its Mpumalanga provincial executive committee (PEC), a man accused of raping two minors, said Deputy President David Mabuza.
In September, the Mpumalanga ANC PEC suspended the former MEC after he was arrested for allegedly raping his two daughters. He is currently out on R20 000 bail.
On Wednesday, it emerged that the ANC PEC in Mpumalanga reinstated the alleged rapist, whose bail conditions had also been relaxed to allow him to work for the party. He cannot be named to protect the identity of the two eight-year-old alleged victims.
Mabuza, a former premier of Mpumalanga, answered questions in the National Assembly on Thursday. The final question of the virtual, hybrid plenary dealt with gender-based violence.
In one of the follow-up questions, DA MP Nazley Sharif said the ANC continuously tried to claim the ethical and moral high ground, “to no avail”.
“In fact, it is absolutely tragic to watch as the ANC consistently shows its hypocrisy. GBV is not a game the ANC can play around with. So, please, honourable deputy president, why has your ANC reinstated an alleged perpetrator as PEC member in Mpumalanga, who is alleged to have raped his two daughters? Noting, that the reinstatement has led to the relaxation of his bail conditions.
“Please explain to South African women and girls, right now, who are survivors of rape, why your ANC allowed him back before the law was allowed to take its course while ignoring the pain of his [alleged] victims.”
Mabuza replied: “Honourable member, I understand very well your concern about that decision about the provincial executive committee of the ANC to readmit a member that is alleged to have raped two young children.
“Well, it is a matter that affects the ANC, and you are correct to raise your concern. But let us allow the ANC to deal with that matter.”
He said everyone should be very sensitive to issues that affect women and children.
“Whatever your status in society, it is very important that we shall respect women, we shall respect girl children,” he said.
“Now, let’s allow the ANC to deal with that matter. However, your concern is well-placed. Thank you very much.”
FF Plus MP Heloïse Denner said, shaking her head: “Deputy president, with all due respect, that answer was not good enough.”
She said President Cyril Ramaphosa said ANC office bearers accused of corruption and fraud should stand aside, and asked whether it shouldn’t even be more so the case for members accused of GBV. Mabuza said it was the same question.
“I understand, really, the concern coming from women. The decision by that PEC is a concern to everyone. But I’m saying, without really deliberating on that decision, because, it’s a decision made by an ANC structure, which is a matter the ANC must deal with. Can we allow space for the ANC to deal with that matter?
“But of course, as leaders in government, um, we are standing ready to fight the scourge of gender-based violence, right from our political parties where we come from we must lead by example and we are calling for that, that all of us, in those parties where we come from, we must lead by example.
“Therefore, that is why I’m saying, your concern as members of this house, about that decision of the ANC, it is well placed, and it is for the ANC to deal with that problem. Thank you very much.”