Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has suggested that the arrest of former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo is politically motivated.
Bongo, who is currently an African National Congress (ANC) MP and chair of Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs, appeared in court on Thursday morning on corruption charges.
He is alleged to have offered a bribe to Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara to derail a parliamentary inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises in 2017.
‘You can arrest us all’
Writing on Twitter, Masina said, “You can arrest us all, but our ideas are superior and represent aspirations of [the] poor majority.
“Until we commit to a united organisation, we will continue embarrassing each other whilst poverty, inequality and unemployment finishes our people [sic].”
Both Masina and Bongo are believed to be strong supporters of the “radical economic transformation” (RET) grouping in the ANC.
Some leaders in this grouping, including ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule, believe that state institutions are being used to “fight political battles” in the ANC.
‘Rogue elements in SAPS’
Speaking to IOL earlier this month, Magashule claimed that “some individuals who are using state resources” are working with elements in the media to target him.
He said, “I am also aware that there are rogue elements within the South African Police Services who are used not only to tarnish the entire police force but also to sow divisions within the ANC.”
Magashule made a similar claim in April when he said his cellphone, and that of Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte, was bugged.
“I don’t know who is using this, we are just warning people – don’t use state organs to fight political battles,” he said.
Bongo, who was released on a R5,000 bail, has not publicly reacted to his arrest. The National Prosecuting Authority has indicated that he will make representations against the trial going ahead.
The trial date has been set for 31 January. His bail conditions include not interfering with state witnesses and informing SAPS two weeks in advance in case he wishes to travel outside the country.