There was division among the ANC members in Mpumalanga outside the Nelspruit magistrate’s court on Wednesday, where former MEC and party provincial executive committee member and his stepson were each granted R20,000 bail for allegedly raping two minors.

The 48-year-old is the father of the twin daughters who were allegedly raped. The former MEC, whose ANC membership has been suspended, and his 26-year-old stepson were arrested on September 28 after the matter was reported to the police in July.

The accused can not be named to protect the identities of the minor victims.

Outside court, about 100 ANC members from Matsulu, outside Mbombela, where the MEC was born, sang songs in support of the 48-year-old suspect.

Phakama Ixesha lifikile, meaning  “rise your time has come”, sang the crowd when the MEC went out of court after posting bail.

Malaki Magagula, a member of the group that is rallying behind the MEC, welcomed the granting of bail.

Magagula, who is also a former MMC, told the media that “The court did the right thing and we are happy that they are out”.

He also said “The allegations have been brought  up by some politicians who want to see this leader of ours down and out. We are here to support him and he should know that he has our full support”.

Outside court soon after posting bail, the MEC thanked the community of Matsulu for their continued support.

The former MEC said “I thank the community of  Matsulu and the members of the ANC for your support”.

However, the ANC Women’s League and the EFF showed solidarity in their support for the victims. The group also opposed bail.

ANC Women’s League chairperson in the province , Busi Shiba said regardless of the bail as the women’s league they still stand by  the victims.

Shiba said “As the ANC women’s league we will continue to  support the  two little girls and we want justice for them.We will continue to denounce gender-based violance.  as per our league’s resolution. GBV  is a second pandemic in the country after Covid-19”.

EFF gender-based violence coordinator at Ehlanzeni, Carolina Mashego, said they were  disappointed by the granting of bail.

Mashego said “As women we are very disappointed about the outcome of the bail judgment today because that showed that one can rape and just bail  his way out of prison”.

Delivering  judgment yesterday,  magistrate Suzan Monaledi ordered the accused  to surrender their passports to the state and  to report to the Nelspruit police station every Friday between 6am and 6pm.

Monaledi warned “The accused are therefore ordered to adhere to the court order issued in the children’s court that they should not contact the victims or interfere with the investigation. Know that if you fail  to adhere to the conditions your bail will be forfeited to the state and a warrant of arrest will be issued”.

Defense lawyer advocate Mduduzi Nkosi requested the court to lower the bail against the stepson, arguing that he was unemployed and depended on his stepfather.

However, state prosecutor, Adv Cathy Mnisi, shot down the request, saying both the accused were  facing serious criminal offences.

The pair will appear again in court on November 20.