ANCWL says Thabang Setona got a slap on the wrist for assaulting woman

The ANC’s Thabang Setona was found guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and given a suspended sentence of 12 months for the assault of Olivia Makete.

ANC member who assaulted a woman outside Luthuli House has been identified as Thabang Setona (Front-left). Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) and its Young Women’s Desk (YWD) say they're disappointed with the sentence handed to Thabang Setona for assaulting a woman outside Luthuli House last year.

Setona, who's the ANC’s Johannesburg branch secretary, was found guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and given a suspended sentence of 12 months for the assault of 52-year-old Olivia Makete during a Black First Land First march to the ANC’s headquarters.

This means Setona will not face any jail time unless he commits another offence within the 12 months.

The ANCWL and YWD say while they respect the independence of the judiciary, they regard the sentence to be a “slap on the wrist” and that the assault of Makete, including the interest of society, were not fully considered by the courts when handing over judgment.

“The 12 months sentence is a slap on the wrist. The courts must not show any mercy when sentencing those convicted of crimes against women and children,” YWD spokesperson Feziwe Ndwayana said in a statement on Tuesday.

The league and its structure said according to the 2017/2018 crime statistics from the South African Police Services, about 53,263 cases of assault with GBH on women were recorded, which means around 145 women become victims of GBH assault daily from the likes of Thabang.

The ANCWL has previously come under public criticism from gender activists for failing to take a stronger stance against ANC member and former MP Mduduzi Manana for assaulting his domestic worker, as well as it’s support of former President Jacob Zuma during his rape trial in 2005.

This time, the league and the YWD have called on Chapter 9 institutions like the Commission for Gender Equality and Human Rights Commission to appeal Setona’s sentence.

“The ANCWL and the YWD reiterates their disappointment with the sentence. In support of Ms Makete and all victims of gender-based violence, the ANCWL and the YWD call on all institutions charged with the constitutional mandate to promote respect to gender equality and fight for human rights to consider appealing the sentence.”

At the same time, the ANC Joburg region also released a statement welcoming the sentence handed to Setona, saying it will resuscitate its internal disciplinary processes to deal with his conduct.

On Monday, branch spokesperson Jolidee Matongo told Eyewitness News Setona will face charges of putting the organisation into disrepute.

“We are pleased that he handed himself to the police with the assistance of the ANC zonal leadership and has pleaded guilty. In addition, we welcome the fact that he has, since the day of the incident, shown remorse and apologised to the victim,” the region said in a statement.