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Duarte: Mpumalanga ANC ‘insensitive’ for reinstating rape-accused member

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told Eyewitness News the PEC should have considered more factors than legal implications when making its decision.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte briefs the media at the Absa Stadium in East London, on 12 January 2018. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte spoke out on Thursday against her party in Mpumalanga for reinstating a provincial executive committee (PEC) member accused of raping his two eight-year-old daughters.

He cannot be named to protect the identities of the children.

On Tuesday, the Nelspruit Magistrates Court relaxed the bail conditions of the man who was arrested along with his stepson in September. The former MEC is out on R20,000 bail.

Duarte told Eyewitness News the PEC should have considered more factors than legal implications when making its decision.

“You also are a bit insensitive when you take the decision on the eve of the launch of the 16 Days of Activism [Against Gender-based Violence]. You are saying to the ANC and the government: ‘One of your primary objectives, we don’t respect’.”

To the dismay of many, the Mpumalanga PEC this week welcomed back the former MEC, who was arrested in September and then charged with the rape of his twin daughters.

In October, he received a hero’s welcome from members of the community and the ANC when he was released on bail.

The Mpumalanga ANC argued that the man be allowed to participate in party activities while the ANC at national level dealt with calls for him to step aside.

Duarte said that while the executive committee in Mpumalanga couldn’t be told what to do on this matter, the national ANC was appealing with it to not look at it from only one perspective, and added that the public outrage against the decision was justified.

“Everywhere people are going, they are being bashed – by the media, local NGOs, by everybody. And rightfully so,” she told Eyewitness News.

In spite of the decision taken by the PEC, it continued to argue that because the accused was back at work did not mean it was not supporting the alleged victims.

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