The ANC in the Western Cape says it will support the 13-year-old girl from Mitchells Plain who was allegedly raped by a City of Cape Town employee.
The man, who was reportedly a former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) commander, appeared in court on Monday in connection with the rape of the teenager.
“The accused has not been formally part of the ANC in Mitchells Plain since 2013. We are numbed by the allegations and charges,” it said in a statement on Monday.
It was reported that the 54-year-old man, who cannot be named until he has pleaded, was arrested on Friday in Strandfontein, police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut confirmed.
Netwerk24 reported the man was an MK commander on the Cape Flats but he now works as a senior manager for the City of Cape Town.
“Every day, our country is sent reeling by gruesome acts of gender-based violence [GBV]. We have recoiled with horror at these reports. Never, ever did we expect that a suspect who is said to be one of our own would appear in court on allegations of raping a young girl.
“We are shocked and outraged. This alleged crime is a betrayal of the ethos, values and principles of the ANC,” the party said.
According to the Daily Voice, the teenager spoke to a friend last week and revealed she had been raped over a period of three years, allegedly by the man who was a family friend.
She told her friend she had not spoken out previously as she feared there would be “fights”.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, said the man would return to court on 29 June for a bail application.
“We want a swift, but fair trial and the harshest penalty if the accused is found guilty because we want the court to show perpetrators that we expect our law to be tough on them.
“Our people must know that they can expect the protection of the law, as well as the ANC’s full support against the perpetrators of GBV. Jail is the only place for those convicted of GBV and horrific crimes such as this alleged rape. We stand by and will support this young victim,” the ANC statement said.