An ANC member facing criminal charges of instigation related to last month’s attempted “insurrection” will remain on the party’s candidate list for local government elections because the ANC claims he is innocent.
Mboneni Tabane was arrested on 18 July and charged with incitement to commit public violence. His first court appearance was on 20 July, according to the National Prosecuting Authority’s Twitter page.
The NPA’s account states that Tabane was “one of the alleged instigators of the recent violent unrest”. He was released on R5 000 bail by the Roodepoort magistrate’s court.
However, ANC Johannesburg regional secretary Dada Morero said Tabane had acted against the unrest and accused the incumbent councillor David Moloisane of cooking up charges against Tabane.
The looting and vandalism in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which the government called an attempted insurrection, led to the deaths of at least 337 people and cost the economy billions of rand in damages.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said a specialised unit in law enforcement would work tirelessly to bring those implicated to book: “They will be held accountable for their deeds. We will not allow anyone to destabilise our country and get away with it,” he said.
The corruption-tainted ANC has spent the better part of the year trying to cleanse itself of its tarnished image, which saw some of its high-profile leaders including secretary general Ace Magashule being forced to step aside or face suspension.
In a media briefing last week to announce that the ANC had submitted its list of councillor candidates to contest the elections scheduled for October 27, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told journalists the party had removed all those facing corruption charges from the lists.
In terms of his bail conditions, Tabane, who was elected to represent ward 127 in Roodepoort, must report to the Roodepoort police every Friday, is not allowed to leave Gauteng without permission from the investigating officer, must hand over his passport and must not interfere with state witnesses,.
“What we don’t understand is why was the matter now handled by the provincial police as opposed to local Roodepoort police? Was this a well-planned operation to try and stop him [Tabane] from being nominated as a ward councillor? Were they hoping that the step-aside rule [would] apply?” Morero told the M&G.
“In fact the step-aside [rule] will not even apply as this is not a criminal act, corruption, murder or bribery. Almost all our comrades have been involved in community marches, including the chairperson and the women’s league . . . to demand various service delivery matters. We now know who is behind the whole issue.
“Since the matter is in court we can’t, unfortunately, name the people but we do know them. The man [Tabane] has won the nomination fair and square. They must leave him.”
Ward 127 ANC branch members have written to Duarte claiming that Tabane was elected at an irregular meeting that was held in another ward, and that they chose Stanley Maemela as their nominee.
“As per the [step-aside] guideline, until his name is cleared, he [Tabane] should not be considered for any position. We are shocked to learn that this individual has been included in the list submitted to the IEC, and that no disciplinary process has been started by the ANC. Our attempts to get any assistance from the ANC Johannesburg Region leadership led us to believe that the Region does not want to take any action in this matter,” the letter reads.
“We were also made aware that the region has written to the NPA requesting that the charges against Tabane be dropped for political reasons. We are highly concerned about this conduct, as it kills morale in the ANC members in the ward,” the letter reads.