News24

ANC looking into Mthembu arrest

2010-03-11 14:42

Cape Town - ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said party secretary general Gwede Mantashe was investigating the report of his colleague Jackson Mthembu's arrest.

Their other colleague, Brian Sokutu, was suspended this week.

"My eardrum is complaining," Mnisi said in jest, when asked how he was doing.

"Mr Mantashe is investigating all those issues [the Mthembu arrest] so we will then take it from there," he added.

Arrest

Mthembu was arrested for drunken driving in Cape Town on Thursday morning - but this did not stop him from doing his job.

Mthembu, in a 21-minute telephonic interview with Sapa, apparently while in police custody, passionately defended youth leader Julius Malema before bursting into song.

"Don't blame Julius. In fact, on this one, I will defend him," said Mthembu, speaking on the criminal complaint against Malema for singing "kill the boers, they are rapists".

"You must blame the ANC, don't blame Julius. But when you blame the ANC, then contextualise it," said Mthembu, before he started singing the "kill the boers" song to Sapa over the phone.

Mthembu was arrested on the N2 near the Pinelands off-ramp around 08:00 and was released from Mowbray police station after 13:00.

Sapa phoned him at 09:22 for comment on the Malema story and a 21-minute interview followed.

When called back at 11:23 to ask if he had been arrested for drunken driving, Mthembu again answered his phone, but this time the call lasted only 40 seconds. He replied: "I can't comment".

Statement

The Independent Democrats (ID) called on the ANC to release a statement about Mthembu's arrest.

"Coming so soon after the news that Mthembu apparently sang to a Sapa journalist this morning, the ID regards the reports of his landing up in jail as quite plausible," said ID secretary general Haniff Hoosen in a statement.

"In fact, seen within the context of the ANC's years-long reputation for saying one thing and doing something completely different, I think it is safe to say that Mr Mthembu has today earned his ANC stripes."

Mthembu was ordered to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on March 24.