The African National Congress (ANC) has said former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo “remains innocent until proven otherwise.”
Bongo was arrested on Thursday and appeared before the Cape Town magistrate’s court on corruption charges. He was granted R5,000 bail.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe told Power FM on Friday that Bongo will also remain an ANC member of parliament.
‘Charged, not convicted’
He said, “You’ll appreciate that Comrade Bongani remains innocent until proven otherwise. We’re also encouraged by his own cooperation with the whole process.
“He remains a member of parliament, continues to remain a member of the National Executive Committee [of the ANC]. He is only charged, he is not convicted.
“So from what I understand at this stage, he will continue to exercise and perform his responsibilities in the organisation.”
In addition to being an MP, Bongo is also the chair of Parliament’s portfolio committee on Home Affairs.
Allegations against Pravin Gordhan
Mabe could not be drawn to comment on Bongo’s allegations that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is behind his woes.
He said, “Well, these allegations are made by him. I’m sure he’s in a better position to clarify where he’s coming from. I wouldn’t know. I don’t have facts.”
On Thursday, Bongo told eNCA that he recently met Gordhan, who accused him of being involved in an alleged campaign by Public Protector and Economic Freedom Fighters against him.
“I never accused Gordhan but he accused me of working with the EFF and the Public Protector and said I will see what will happen to me,” he claimed.
Bongo alleged that soon after Gordhan’s “threat,” he was poisoned, pursued by the South African Revenue Service, and has now been charged.
He further claimed that according to information he has, “about eight of us” will be arrested, including ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule.
He claimed the plan was to “purge” those who had “opposed the current status quo” in the run-up to ANC’s elective conference in 2017.
However, Gordhan dismissed the claims as “foolish.” In a statement sent via his communications team, he said, “Mr Bongo must be hallucinating. The minister feels that he should look in the mirror; his statement is just nonsensical.”
Bongo’s charges emanate from allegations that he attempted to bribe an evidence leader to derail a parliamentary inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises in 2017.
His trial date was set for 31 January, 2020. However, he is set to make representations to the National Prosecuting Authority for the charges to be dropped.