- The ANC has reinstated a PEC member in Mpumalanga who is facing rape charges.
- The party says it will be unfair to suspend him amid the party's unclear resolution on accused members stepping aside.
- The party member is accused of raping his two daughters.
Days after President Cyril Ramaphosa's government announced the launch of the 16 days of activism against women and child abuse, the ANC in Mpumalanga has reappointed a member of its provincial executive committee (PEC) accused of rape.
Provincial ANC spokesperson Sasekani Manzini said the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the alleged victims, has been reinstated with immediate effect.
"The provincial executive committee met and because the NEC [national executive committee] has not yet made a decision on the guidelines for stepping aside, it would be unfair for us as province to say he must not participate," she said, adding that the provincial executive would wait for the decisions of the NEC on the matter.
"The ANC is not a unilateral organisation. All those who have been accused are participating in the country, so the decision for one must apply to the next," she said.
His ANC reinstatement has led to the relaxation of his bail conditions.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa told News24 the man had approached the courts seeking a relaxation of his bail conditions.
"He made a report that he had been deployed for the organisation. His bail conditions were relaxed to allow him to report to the police station once a week on Friday only. Other conditions include that he must not interfere with State witnesses and he must report to the investigating officer when leaving the Mpumalanga province," she said.
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told the Sunday Times in an interview the advice from top lawyers was that stepping aside would be "a voluntary act" and forcing anyone to do so would amount to suspending them.
News24 had previously reported the ANC national working committee had sought legal advice from advocate Gcina Malindi after members ignored the NEC's directive.
The rape accused PEC member was suspended as a member of the PEC in Mpumalanga after he was arrested in September for allegedly raping his two daughters. He is currently out on R20 000 bail.
This is not the first time the politician, who is a former MEC, has been accused of rape. He was previously charged with raping a woman several years ago. He claimed that he had consensual sex with the woman but the woman said he forced himself on her.
The State later withdrew the charges against him.
Speaking in North West on Monday, Ramaphosa said the 16 days of activism campaign would strengthen the branches of the ANC.
Ramaphosa told members to take the campaign seriously, adding that the empowerment of women was propagated across the continent due to the efforts of the ANC Women's League.
"Now all of us in the country and globally are now supposed to embark on those 16 days so that we combat violence against women and children and there must be ward-based gender-based violence and femicide command centres over these 16 days. Our branches must participate in that," he said.