EFF touts rabble-rousing councillor as premier for KZN

2014-03-18 00:00

CONTROVERSIAL former Albert Park councillor Vusi Khoza, whose thuggish actions led to a three-year suspended sentence for public violence and conspiracy to commit assault, is the EFF’s provincial premier candidate.

Yesterday Khoza cited the precedent setting Electoral Court decision to allow Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who had a three-year suspended sentence, to run for office as a factor in his favour.

His nomination was revealed yesterday when the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) released the names of premier candidates and the top 10 candidates for Parliament.

Khoza was given a three-year suspended sentence in November 2012 for inciting pubic violence while he was an ANC councillor in Albert Park, Durban.

He was acquitted on two charges of murder and one of malicious damage to property.

He had been charged with public violence and conspiracy to commit assault in connection with xenophobic attacks in Durban in 2009.

Two foreigners, Victor Zowa of Zimbab­we and Said Omari of Tanzania, were killed after a mob entered a building in the Durban CBD and began attacking people. Zimbabwean Eugene Madondo was severely injured.

His co-accused, Sean Jacobs, who faced charges of attempted murder and malicious damage to property, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on each charge.

Magistrate Fariedha Mohamed had said, in passing sentence, that Khoza and Jacobs were “lucky” not to have been charged in connection with the two deaths.

Yesterday, Khoza said there was nothing stopping him from standing as a ­candidate.

“We (EFF) have consulted extensively,” he said referring to EFF seeking legal opinion on his nomination.

In 2009 the Freedom Front lodged a complaint against Madikizela-Mandela, who was top of the ANC national candidate list, but the IEC dismissed objections to her nomination.

The Electoral Court had ruled that “she was not sentenced to an effective term of imprisonment”.

Khoza, who insisted on his innocence in the xenophobic attacks, said he too was not sentenced to an effective term of imprisonment and there was nothing standing in his way.

“I can’t say if there will be objections or not, but they are at liberty to do whatever they want,’ he said.

“We will cross that bridge when we get there,” Khoza said.

The IEC deadline for people wanting to object to candidates is 5 pm on April 1.

He claimed that the charges that landed him the suspended sentence were trumped up and insisted that he had nothing to do with the criminal case.

“My conscience is clear. It was a politically motivated case because I was a whistle-blower in the matters that were investigated in the Manase report [an inquiry into official tenders in the eThekwini Municipality].

“The charges were cooked up by people who wanted to deal with me,” he said.

Khoza said he decided not to pursue the matter when the magistrate dismissed his leave to appeal.

“I did not see it as something that would affect me in any way,” said Khoza, claiming that he had not been involved in the xenophobic attacks but was pointed out and arrested.

Professor Shadrack Gutto, of the Institute of African Renaissance at Unisa, said Khoza’s suspended sentence meant that he could not commit a similar offence otherwise he could be jailed.

He, however, said it was up to the IEC to decide on Khoza’s suitability to be a candidate.

Referring to the Constitution and the suspended sentence, Gutto said, “There is a grey area … It is up to the IEC to decide if he qualifies or not.”

He said the law as it stood was not clear if those with suspended sentences were barred from standing or not.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi would only confirm Khoza was on the candidates list and thereafter could not be reached on his cellphone.

Meanwhile, party leader Julius Malema yesterday said the EFF was fielding fighters whose sole mandate is the people and who go into Parliament to return it to the people.

“The Parliament under the EFF leadership shall be the parliament of the people, and will constitute new legislations to inaugurate an era of economic freedom for our people,” the EFF said in its statement when releasing the premier candidate and top candidates on parliamentary list led by Malema.

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