Case 4 #NotOurLeaders – Political parties don’t suspend members charged with rape against children


16 Days of Activism to end violence against women

Press Release



CASE 4: Unnamed ANC Councillor, JS Moroka Municipality

In May of this year an unnamed ANC councillor was accused of raping a 16-year old girl. He was released on bail of R5 000 by the Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga and the next court date set for 23 June. Rather than suspending the councillor, the ANC in the Nkangala region chose to place him on special leave pending the outcome of the case. Spokesperson Sello Matshoga indicated that the councillor would only have been suspended if the state had succeeded in opposing bail and presented evidence in court of a strong case. No further information about the progress of this case is available.

ANC is inconsistent in its approach

“The ANC is inconsistent in its stance towards members who are accused of sexual offences,” said Lisa Vetten, a gender violence specialist. “On Monday 27 #NotOurLeaders highlighted the case of Winterveldt councillor Sipho Maselane who is appearing in the Ga-Rankuwa magistrates court today (30 November) on multiple counts of rape and robbery. He has neither been suspended, nor placed on ‘special leave.’ We’ve also highlighted how the ANC acted against Marius Fransman even though the criminal investigation had not been concluded,” she said.

Another very recent example is Simon Mofokeng, the mayor of Emfuleni who distributed pictures of a semi-nude 14-year old girl to other ANC leaders via WhatsApp in October of this year. Although Mofokeng has not been formally charged with a criminal offence yet, he was placed on ‘special leave’ on 30 October and an internal investigation launched into the matter. Although Mofokeng resigned on 20 November he is not necessarily off the hook, as the ANC is reported to be still considering further disciplinary action against him.

Reluctance to suspend party members accused of sexual offences is evident across parties

The ANC is not the only party to take the path of least resistance when confronted by party members charged with sexual offences.

“On Tuesday #NotOurLeaders highlighted the case of a deputy mayor, Mncedisi Maphisa, who has been charged with sexual assault. He has not been suspended or placed on special leave by the IFP. In yet another example a DA councillor from Clanwilliam in the Western Cape was accused in March of sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl and arrested. The DA also said they would not suspend him until the criminal case has been concluded. They’ve since been able to duck the issue as the councillor had not paid his membership fees and is therefore no longer a member of the DA,” said Sanja Bornman of Lawyers for Human Rights.

Avoiding internal disciplinary procedures while criminal cases are pending

“Criminal charges are serious. It’s unacceptable that parties claim – and only in some instances – that they must wait for the outcome of a criminal trial before they can act. This is a cop out. They are not powerless to act,” says Vivienne Mentor Lalu of the Women and Democracy Initiative. “Legally, there is no requirement to wait. In fact, political parties (like employers) should run internal processes as soon as they are aware of the allegations against their members regardless of the criminal justice process. That would show that they are serious about addressing sexual violence.”

The ANC must act

  • The #NotOurLeaders campaign calls on the ANC to provide further information on the progress of the case against the Mpumalanga councillor.
  • We also call on the ANC make clear its position on the processes to be followed when a member is accused of a sexual offence. A statement must be issued in this regard and every effort made to ensure that this policy is routinely and consistently applied.
  • #NotOurLeaders reiterates its call to immediately suspend Sipho Maselane and undertake an internal disciplinary investigation of his conduct. The national office should also investigate the Tshwane ANC’s handling of Maselane’s matter.

All parties must act

  • The #NotOurLeaders campaign challenges all parties to develop procedures for suspending political representatives accused of sexual offences.


For comment contact:

  • Lisa Vetten, gender violence specialist, 082 822 6725
  • Vivienne Mentor-Lalu, Women and Democracy Initiative, Dullah Omar Institute, 082 494 0788
  • Sanja Bornman, Lawyers for Human Rights, 083 522 2933


About the #NotOurLeaders campaign

During this year’s 16 Days of Activism, the Women and Democracy Initiative (WDI) of the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), and gender violence specialist, Lisa Vetten, turn the spotlight on political representatives accused of sexual violence and the practices that protect and enable their sexual misconduct and abuse. By contrasting the range of incidents reported with parties’ inconsistent – even non-existent – responses, the campaign aims to demonstrate the chasm between political-speak and political actions on sexual violence.

The campaign emphasises the need for strong political leadership by all political parties and representatives in tackling the pervasive problem of sexual violence in South Africa.


Criminal trials and disciplinary actions are separate processes, with different purposes and levels of proof needed. This is why withdrawal of charges, or an acquittal in a criminal court does not always mean an incident did not happen. It means that the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it happened. The purpose of an internal disciplinary process, in most cases, is to maintain behavioural standards and create a safe working environment – which employers are required by law to do. The onus of proof is lower in internal disciplinary processes than it is in criminal trials. In these processes the case must be proved on a balance of probabilities – so they look at what is more probable. Internal disciplinary processes can and should run at the same time that a criminal trial is running. They also can and should be run, when the allegations constitute misconduct, even when there is no criminal case.


South Africa my home: a place where children do not matter!

By Rethabile Mashale

My South Africa, my land, my home, how you are letting down your children! South Africa is the place I call home, I smile when people ask me where I am from, because then I can say with pride: “I am from this beautiful country we call South Africa”.  We have beautiful towering mountains, sexy flowing rivers, oceans that entice and views that are second to the view that Gods have, yet we have a deep, dark secret. Yes, we are hiding our skeletons in the closet and of late it seems that someone has opened the closet door and our laundry is being aired. I am referring to how we regard our children, how we regard injustices committed to our children and especially children who survive sexual violence.

We voted and appointed our president as our leader, to serve our best interest, to safeguard us against injustices but most importantly to make decisions that serve those who are unable to protect themselves. Children are that group of people that are not able to protect themselves; they need adults to safeguard them, to protect their interests and to make decisions that are benevolent for their future.

In light of our president’s nomination of constitutional court judge Mogoeng Mogeong as the new Chief Justice, I am worried about what this means for our children and women.  Are we saying that the rights of children and women do not matter anymore?  How detrimental is this to our future as a country?

The controversies surrounding the sexual assault cases that Mogoeng has presided over are alarming to say the least (read more at Not only has this man reduced sentences for men who have committed unspeakable acts of violence against children and women, but he has also failed to qualify his rulings.

His appointment, should it happen, will place him as the second most powerful man in the country, giving him authority to make final decisions about the management and functioning of all our courts. His rulings will set unwanted precedence over decisions that will affect the state of our children and women who are victims of sexual violence.  What is to stop other judges from following in his footsteps once he is appointed? What is to stop him petitioning for changes to the Sexual Offences Act? How can we, as a nation, allow this to happen?

I am disappointed in my president’s choice of candidacy for the position and thus I stand in support of civil society organisations that are taking a stand against Mogoeng’s appointment as Chief Justice. We need leadership that advances the gains made by civil society organisations in protecting and serving our children; we need leadership that upholds our Constitution and human rights framework. We need to grow people who do not tolerate injustices committed against those who are defenceless and we need men who speak up against men who commit violence against women and children. Mogoeng is clearly not that man and appointing him as Chief Justice will only be detrimental to our society.  I wish for change, I want to act for change, I want to urge you to be an agent of change and most importantly I want to see the change. I am craving a society where we protect our children, where children can be allowed to just be children!