ANC Mpumalanga admits it didn’t protect kids in Eric Kholwane press statement

ANC Mpumalanga admits it didn't protect kids in Eric Kholwane's press statement
ERRONEOUS: ANC acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali admits that a statement released by her on the rape allegations levelled against former finance MEC Eric Kholwane lacked the requisite judgement and sensitivity for the children who are victims and have a right to be protected. PICTURE BY Facebook

The party says given the seriousness with which they treat this matter they had no option.

The ANC in Mpumalanga has apologised for not protecting the minor children when releasing a press statement Monday this week on former finance MEC Eric Kholwane’s rape allegations.

Acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali told SAfm Tuesday this week that it was “unfortunate” that the manner in which the statement was written exposed the kids.

She said had they had been furnished with proper details they were going to take measurable steps to protect the children as required by law.

The law doesn’t allow a suspect in a rape case involving children to be named.

Both the police and the ANC Mpumalanga released press statements on Monday 28 September 2020 regarding the arrest of the PEC member – with the police not naming Kholwane and the ANC naming him. Ntshalintshali says they “sincerely apologise” for that.

Ntshalintshali said they learnt through journalists about Kholwane’s arrest on Monday morning and began making phone calls to the police to confirm if it was true  – and found that indeed it was true and that Kholwane was being held at the police station’s charge office in order to be sent to court on that same day.

“When the allegations were confirmed and by the time we had issued a media statement,” Ntshalintshali told SAfm’s Elvis Preslin early Tuesday morning on First Take SA, “we did mention [his name] because media enquiries gave us his name but when the matter was heard before court it was unfortunate that we learnt that these are minors, are underage and in terms of the Children’s Act they should be protected and really as ANC we sincerely apologise for mentioning the name, because we should have been given the ages and that here we are dealing with the minors and that in terms law how we deal with that,” she said.

Kholwane will appear with another suspect who is his 26-year-old stepson on 1 October 2020 to apply for bail.

Ntshalintshali said insofar as they know that they “erred” but the “truth is the truth” and they are going to definitely side with the victims in the matter.

“Victims of alleged rape and sexual assaults are victims and in the ANC we are firm on that irrespective of who is alleged to have done that,” said Ntshalintshali.

How did ANC learn about the matter

Ntshalintshali said every Monday they hold the PEC meetings in Mbombela.

She said early Monday morning while busy with that meeting “we were bombarded with calls and those calls were media enquiries”.

“[The journalists] said ‘are you aware that one of your own has been arrested’, and we said ‘no’ and we made follow ups and SAPS confirmed.

“They gave us the scenario that now they are at the charge office and would be taking them to court today and we were shocked,” Ntshalintshali said.

She added that as per the resolutions of the ANC they took the decision to suspend Kholwane as PEC member.

“Irrespective of the position you hold in our society, this is the reason we said as per the Constitution let us summarily suspend him to say go focus, deal with your law matters, your attendance, your appearance in court and let’s allow our justice system to deal with the matter without any political pressure or political influence,” she said.

(edited by MLM)

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