Ex-MEC charged with assault, intimidation

Siphosezwe Masango Ex MEC charged with assault, intimidation

Mpumalanga’s former human settlements MEC Siphosezwe Masango and his two bodyguards are being investigated for alleged assault and intimidation.

Masango and his bodyguards were accused of assaulting Gert van der Merwe (39) at the Nkomazi Toll Plaza on July 9, 2012, after he warned the guards about driving recklessly, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesman Moses Dlamini said today.

“I can confirm that the MEC along with his two bodyguards are due to appear in the Barberton Magistrate’s Court on October 7 on charges of assault and intimidation,” he said.

“This came after a complainant opened the charges at Kaapmuiden police station and [the case] was then transferred to us (Ipid), as the bodyguards are under the South African Police Service.”

Van der Merwe reportedly told Beeld newspaper that Masango’s white Mercedes-Benz, fitted with flashing blue lights, sped over a solid line to overtake cars waiting to pass through the tollgate.

According to the report, Van der Merwe stopped behind Masango at the tollgate and shouted that the driver was being reckless.

Van der Merwe reportedly said Masango’s bodyguards got out and approached him. One had a pistol and the other had pepper spray. He said he was hit on the head and pepper-sprayed.

Afterwards, they chased him as he ran to the Kaapmuiden police station to lay a charge.

In February, Premier David Mabuza removed Masango as human settlements MEC and appointed Andries Gamede instead.

He found the department had delivered only 3900 housing units out of a target of 10?980 for the 2012/2013 financial year.

The African National Congress in Mpumalanga has promised to launch an internal investigation against Masango.

“I read about the matter in the papers, and as the party we are saying Masango is innocent until proven guilty by the court of law,” said ANC provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa.

“However, as a party we are going to do our own investigation internally, and if found guilty we will then pronounce the findings and punishment the party would have arrived at.”

The Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga welcomed the Ipid investigation.

“While the DA welcomes Mr Masango’s impending appearance in October, we hope that his subsequent removal from office will not give him the opportunity to escape accountability for his behaviour while in cabinet,” said DA provincial leader Anthony Benadie.

Masango could not be reached for comment.

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