Assault case opened against EFF student leader

EFF supporters singing outside UFS main gate in support of workers and students. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24, file)
EFF supporters singing outside UFS main gate in support of workers and students. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24, file)

Johannesburg - A case of assault has been opened against a member of a Johannesburg's university branch of the Economic Freedom Fighters, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

"The case of assault has been opened last night [Monday] and is being investigated," Hillbrow police spokesperson Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo told News24.

"The Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command Wits Branch Womxn note with a concern and a flaming rage the abuse that has been raged against the bodies of womxn in our own branch…" [sic] read a statement issued on Monday on Twitter and attributed to Wits EFF deputy secretary Lethuthando Nkosi.

The statement goes on to call "all EFF and EFFSC structures, respectively to discipline the above mentioned names".

This account, as well as other Twitter users, issued various tweets that named the alleged perpetrator - a move which caused controversy on social media.

'Chronically abusive relationship'

A friend of the alleged victim, who asked not to be named, told News24 on Tuesday that the victim, also a member of the EFF, had been in a relationship with the alleged perpetrator. She said that on Friday night June 30, at the victim's university residence, "he beat her and raped her and stole her belongings".

She confirmed that a case - which she said included rape - was later opened at the Hillbrow police station.

Later on Tuesday, the alleged victim of the attack issued a Facebook post in which she detailed what she termed a "chronically abusive relationship" as well as an apparent incident of rape and other instances of alleged violence.

She goes on to describe herself as "numb right now".

Despite various attempts, comment from the EFF's national structure was not immediately available.

On Tuesday afternoon, University of the Witwatersrand spokesperson Shirona Patel said that no complaint had yet been received.

"If one is laid, the Gender Equity office will investigate it fully."

She said the university would also "proactively" follow up on the information that came to light on Tuesday in order to determine if assistance was needed.

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