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All ANC members are equal, but others are more equal than others

Mpumalanga African National Congress reportedly suspended its regional executive committee member, but has failed to act against a leader who faces similar allegations.

The public broadcaster quoted Mpumalanga ANC provincial spokesperson, Manzini as saying that the organisation suspended Bongani Phakathi, who is an REC member, after he was arrested on various charges.

ANC spokesperson, Sasekani Manzini, is quoted confirming the suspension during an interview with the public broadcaster, however, when Ziwaphi sent a written media enquiry to establish why Phakathi has been suspended, but no action taken on PEC member, Mandla Msibi who is facing similar charges, she failed to respond.

Last month, the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in Mpumalanga, Monica Nyuswa, confirmed that Msibi’s appeared in court on several charges.

“He appeared on the 14 of August 2019 with Mxolisi Gama Mathebula and Sergeant Nkosi on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and intimidation.

“In (another) case he appeared with Bongani Mathebula, Mxolisi Gama, Nkululeko Maseko on charges of malicious damage to property and contravention of Section 11(1)(b) of intimidation Act 72 of 1982.

“In (another) case he appeared with Mxolisi Gama and Bongani Mathebula on charges of malicious damage to property and contravention of Section 11(1)(b) of intimidation act 72of 1983,” said Nyuswa.

The ANC’s constitution classifies assault as an act of misconduct whereby members should be subjected to a disciplinary action.

“Fighting, assaulting another member or behaving in a disorderly or unruly manner at ANC meetings, assemblies or gatherings and/or disrupting meetings and interfering with the or-derly functioning of the ANC,” reads the ANC constitution.

The organisation, however, has failed to act against Msibi, who is now the member of the executive council for co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

Msibi is not the only ANC member where the organisation is turning a blind eye.

The organisation also failed to act against ANC Ehlanzeni regional chairperson, Ngrayi Ngwenya, even after he was convicted five times for assaulting other ANC members and ordinary citizens.

In January 2015, ANC regional leaders, an executive mayor, members of the Mpumalanga legislature attacked members of the South African Communist Party at Kanyamazane while holding a memorial lecture in honour of former SACP national chairperson, Joe Slovo and member, Jimmy Mohlala.

Mohlala was killed in January 2009 after he exposed corruption in the appointment of contractors for the construction of the Mbombela stadium ahead of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa.

SACP district secretary, Bhobert Nkosi, denounced the ANC’s lack of action against the alleged perpetrators, some of whom were promoted to positions of MECs.

“We call upon the new Secretary General of the ANC, Cde Ace Magashule to release the report on the Kanyamazane Siege and attempted murder of leaders of the SACP in the Phillip Radebe District, which Cde Gwede Mantashe refused to release as he felt that it was too embarrassing to the ANC.

“Any failure to release the report means that the renewal project under the leadership of Cde Cyril Ramaphosa will be built on a foundation of dishonesty and is bound to perpetuate the culture of impunity due to lack of consequences which has come to characterise the province,” said Nkosi.

The SACP’s call, however, fell on deaf ears, even though the ANC had commissioned an investigation, and produced a report on the attack.

In Phakathi’s case, however, Manzini is quoted as saying that the ANC suspended him even before they received a report of what transpired.

“The PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) took a decision to suspend the member immediately, while we are still waiting for a formal report from the regional committee on exactly what transpired,” said Manzini.

Phakathi’s suspension follows the emergence of a video where a person alleged to be him discharges a firearm following what appears to be an altercation.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Brig Leonard Hlathi, confirmed that the police have opened several charges against Phakathi, who was released on bail.

“(He was charged with) two count of assaults common and another charge of discharging of firearm in a public space and assault common. The suspect Bongani Gift Phakathi (was) arrested and charged. (He) appeared before court on Tuesday, and the case (was) postponed (to September 2019. The accused is out on bail of R1000,” said Hlathi.

Meanwhile sources within the ANC in Gert Sibande, who spoke on condition of anonymity told Ziwaphi that the fight in Msukaligwa is about tenders, while another said there’s a group that is preventing the ANC REC from acting against the executive mayor for alleged corruption, following an investigation that allegedly implicates him.

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