The Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga has postponed the bail application against a member of the ANC Provincial Executive Committee and former Mpumalanga MEC and his stepson who are facing charges of rape and sexual assault.

It is alleged that the two raped two eight year-old girls.

Rape allegations against a former Mpumalanga MEC: 

A group supporting the two accused clashed with members of political parties outside court.

The two accused made a brief appearance in court earlier on Thursday morning and the matter had to be postponed to the afternoon after the accused terminated the services of their lawyers and appointed new ones.

Outside court, chaos erupted when a group supporting the accused chased members of political parties who had come to protest.  The group was chanting struggle songs saying the suspects are innocent and should be left alone.

According to the group, the arrest is just a smear campaign against the PEC member.

Group leader Tevin Mdakane says the accused is fighting gender-based violence.

“It is something that has been initiated against him and it’s a smear campaign against him because they know that he is against corruption and his audit has always been clean. We, people from Matsulu, we know him – not from politics – we know him personally. We know that he has been fighting gender-based violence and corruption.”

Victims of abuse should be protected

Meanwhile, the ANC Women’s League says victims of abuse should be protected irrespective of who is involved.

ANC Women’s league representative, Busi Shiba, says the law should take its course.

“We are here today to support the victims because as the as ANCWL, we took a decision on issues of gender-based violence that will stand by the victims until the law take its course. You will remember that the victims are minors.”

MEC for Social Development Thandi Shongwe, who also attended the court proceedings, says the two victims have been taken to a place of safety.

“They need to be protected and they need to be supported. What we have done we have taken the children to a safe of place because they should be protected until the case is finished. So, we call upon everyone to support the victims.”

It is alleged that the two young girls were raped by the suspects on several occasions. It is reported that one of the victims reported the matter to her school teacher in July.

The two were arrested on Monday after months of investigation. The bail application will continue on Friday.