A group of his supporters, some dressed in ANC gear holding placards calling for him to get bail clashed with EFF members outside the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court.

The group insisted that the charges against the man and his 26-year-old stepson were a smear campaign against the politician.

They clashed with EFF members and were seen tearing up their posters, which called for bail to be denied.

The man is appearing for a formal bail application for the alleged rape of two 8-year-old girls. It is understood the matter was delayed and he would appear after 14:00.

Sasekani Manzini, ANC spokesperson said those who were supporting the accused were not representing the ANC. She said “We condemn anyone who goes there in the name of the ANC and say they are defending the perpetrators”.

The ANC Women’s League’s Busi Shiba was in court supporting the victims, who are 8-year-old twin girls. She said “We are here because we want to see justice being done”.

EFF member Eric Masuku, who was outside of the court, said the party was there to ensure the accused did not get bail. He said “There are a lot of victims who are scared to come out and open cases. That is why the court must not allow bail”.

Masuku said supporters of the accused clashed with EFF members as well as members of the ANC Women’s League who were supporting the victims. He said “His supporters are pushing our members and tearing up our posters. We are here to stand against GBV [gender-based violence]”.

On Monday, the ANC said it had suspended the accused.

Acting ANC chairperson in Mpumalanga Mandla Ndlovu said ANC officials in the province had met and decided that the accused should step down from his position in the ANC, given the gravity of the charges.

The ANC named him in a statement, but News24 cannot name him to protect the identities of the alleged victims.