Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
3 Nov 2018
7:30 am

Gwede Mantashe could face a charge of common assault

Sipho Mabena

A delegate at a mining summit in July alleged he was assaulted by police on the minister’s instruction.

Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Moneyweb

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is facing possible prosecution for common assault.

In a statement to police in Boksburg, Orapeleng Ben Setlhauno said that the minister instructed police to “deal” with him during the mining summit, held at Birchwood hotel in July.

The 54-year-old president of the South African National Mining Council said that after the instruction police slapped and kicked him as they dragged him out of the summit, breaking his left leg, in full view of other delegates.

Setlhauno said his “crime” was objecting to the former Chamber of Mines of South Africa using its new name, the Mineral Council South Africa, in the programme, as the name was subject to legal challenge.

He said in his statement that the programme director on the day, Sello Helepi, ordered him to sit and, when he refused, “… Mantashe went to the mike uninvited [by Helepi]. He order (sic) the police to deal with me” said Setlhauno, of Mafikeng in North West.

He said that after this instruction, about eight police officers approached him and told him to leave.

When he refused, the officers attacked him.

“I was slapped at the back of my head, while others were pulling me out and one stomped on my leg. After I was thrown out of the room, I realised that my leg was injured,” he told The Citizen.

Boksburg North police spokesperson Captain Pearl van Staad said the case had been elevated to provincial detectives for investigation.

“The docket was sent to the deputy director of public prosecutions for a decision on October 24 and has not returned yet. I can confirm that the suspect is Mr Gwede Mantashe,” she said.

Last month, human rights lawyer Richard Spoor was charged with assault following a verbal clash with Mantashe and Eastern Cape police commissioner General Andre Swart on the Wild Coast.

Spoor represents members of the Amadiba Crisis Committee that is opposed to a minerals sand mining project near Xolobeni village and complained that communities opposed to mining were marginalised from Mantashe’s public meeting.

Mantashe’s spokesperson Ayanda Shezi asked for questions to be mailed but had not responded at the time of going to press.

– siphom@citizen.co.za

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