EFF’s assault-accused NW chief whip blames plot, factionalism

EFF North West deputy chairperson Bunga Ntsangane.
EFF North West deputy chairperson Bunga Ntsangane.

The EFF’s assault-accused North West deputy chairperson has cited factional battles and a plot to oust him as chief whip in the provincial legislature as the motive behind charges that have landed him in court.

Bunga Ntsangane told the Mmabatho Magistrates’ Court in Mahikeng on Friday he believed the party’s provincial chairperson, Betty Diale, who testified against him in the matter, wanted him convicted so she could replace him as chief whip.

Ntsangane is accused of assaulting Maggy Klaas, the party’s junior staff member in the legislature, in November 2017. The incident happened about a month ahead of the party’s conference where new leadership would be elected.

“Their desire is to see me lose everything because, should I be found guilty, I would lose my job as a member of the provincial legislature. The EFF’s policy does not allow women abuse. Diale is one of those who wish I could lose my job as chief whip so she can get the position,” Ntsangane told the court on the last day of trial in his crimen injuria and assault case.

He said Diale, being a woman and having extensive experience, stood a good chance of filling the position if he were to lose it. He was aware before the incident that Diale and Klaas, as well as another state witness identified in court as “Mr Motshabi”, were part of a faction.

Klaas alleges that on the day of the alleged assault, Ntsangane came into her office and in an arrogant voice asked her to come to work earlier the next day to perform a specific task. When she expressed her opposition to this, Ntsangane became angry and insulting, calling her “rubbish” and accusing her of “talking sh*t”.

The court also heard from Klaas that Ntsangane threatened to “cut her clitoris” and said her “clitoris was up and ready for the [upcoming party elective] conference”.

Denying all allegations, Ntsangane (who speaks Xhosa) told the court that he could not have used the word clitoris as he “never knew what it is called in Setswana … I heard it for the first time in court”. He added: “My upbringing does not allow me to insult a woman in such a manner.”

Klaas also alleged that Ntsangane had slapped her with an open hand, but he denied this, saying he had in fact been holding Klaas, who was trying to assault him, and pushing her back.

Diale told the court she walked into the office to find an altercation during which Klaas was hit with a fist in the face, but heard no insults. In another testimony, Motshabi told the court Ntsangane’s hand had landed on Klaas’s face during the altercation.

City Press reported late last year that Klaas had lost her job with the party after opening the case. She said then that she believed this was because she had refused to withdraw charges against Ntsangane.

He will know his fate on March 22, when he returns to court for judgment.

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