Former EFF North West deputy chairperson Bunga Ntsangane has been found guilty of assault and crimen injuria and handed a suspended sentence of three years. He will be ordered to pay a six thousand rand fine or face six months in prison should he violate the three year probation period.
This is after a nearly two year long court battle involving former administrator in the EFF North West Legislature Maggie Klaas who laid an assault charge against Ntsangane in November 2017. The judgment, which was initially set for March 2019, was handed down this morning.
Speaking to City Press, Klaas said she was relieved that the battle had come to an end but believed that there was no sufficient justice.
“I have been under severe stress and emotional abuse from party members and supporters who did not believe my version of events and described me as an enemy of the EFF. I am relieved this is over,” she said.
Klaas accused Ntsangane of assaulting her and threatening to have her genitals “cut off” during an altercation in his office in November 2017 where a number of witnesses, who were also part of the court proceedings, were present.
Speaking to City Press, North West secretary-general Papiki Babuile said the EFF welcomed the judgment and sentence and that the party would look into internal processes to discipline the former deputy chairperson, who is still a member of the party.
“Our position is very clear, we don’t support gender-based violence and now that there is a judgment we will look into internal processes of the party to discipline Ntsangane. Maggie took the matter to the court and the perpetrator has been punished and we welcome that”.
City Press first reported on the matter in August 2018 after both Ntsangane and then Limpopo provincial secretary Jossey Buthane, appeared before the courts for assault.
Buthane had been accused by a party member from Sekhukhune region, Mogau Komane, who alleged that he had assaulted her at the regional meeting in December 2016.
Komane claimed that Buthane had torn open her dress, revealing her breast publicly, and left her body bruised.
After laying the charges against Ntsangane, Klaas said she underwent internal disciplinary hearings in the party which led to her dismissal for what she describes as having spoken up against the abuse she suffered.
Klaas took the party to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) where the EFF in the North West was later ordered to pay her 11 months’ salary for unfair dismissal before the end of April this year.
The CCMA found that her dismissal was procedurally and substantively unfair.
Klaas saw a sign of victory after the CCMA ordered the EFF to pay her 11 months’ salary, totaling R102 300, but says she has not yet received the payment.
“Maggie never lost her membership in the EFF. She decided to not renew it, but if she wants to come back we welcome that. No member of the EFF must be ill-treated”, Babuile said.
“I must add that Maggie never lost her job because of Ntsangane; she refused to take instruction and we had to implement labour laws against her. She then took us to the CCMA and the matter was ruled in her favor, however, we have appealed the outcome and questioned the process.”
“If she takes us to labour court and they tell us to take her back we will as we can’t appeal forever, however, we do have a right to appeal processes and will do so when we think they are not consistent. But as for the judgment we welcome it”.