ANC Ekurhuleni councillor Solly Silawule, who is accused of stealing liquor from a bottle store during the violent protests in Gauteng, stands to be axed by his party.
While Silawule has yet to face trial on charges of theft and public violence, his party’s regional executive has already indicated that it will act against the Ward 71 councillor who allegedly brought his party into disrepute.
Adding to the ANC’s embarrassment, news of his arrest was not made known by the law enforcement agencies and the ANC itself, but by the opposition party in the Ekurhuleni Metro Council.
The DA’s constituency head of Daveyton-Etwatwa, Mat Cuthbert, and Ekurhuleni DA’s PR councillor Kathutshelo Rasilingwane broke the news about Silawule’s on Monday.
In its statement, the DA said it noted the arrest of the ward 71 councillor, and that it was alleged that Silawule was involved in looting a local bottle store at Daveyton Mall over the past two weeks, and he was subsequently arrested by the SAPS on Monday.
“The DA calls for due process to be followed and for Mr Silawule to be afforded a fair trial proceeding. However, if he is found to be guilty by a competent court, the court must make sure that he faces the full might of the law.
“The toll that the recent social unrest took on the lives and livelihoods of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal residents will take many years to remedy,” Cuthbert said.
The ANC only reacted after Silawule had already made his first appearance in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, charged with theft and public violence, on Tuesday.
He was not asked to plead on either count, but was remanded as he is required to convince the court that it is in the interests of justice that he be released on bail.
His bail application is scheduled for Friday.
Silawule faces a daunting task of revealing whether he has any criminal convictions or pending charges against him – a requirement for a presiding officer to consider in any application for bail.
Adding to his woes, as a public representative and member of the governing ANC in one of the big metros in the country, Silawule took an oath of office in 2016 in which he pledged loyalty to the Constitution.
On Wednesday, the ANC in Ekurhuleni through its spokesperson Sonnyboy Masingi told the media that the party would act speedily against Silawule to ensure that he answered to the allegations against him.
In a statement issued on Tuesday night, the party said: “The ANC in Ekurhuleni has noted the developments around the arrest of the ward 71 councillor, and the charges of theft and public violence.
“The ANC wishes to strongly condemn any acts of criminality attributable to any leaders and public representatives of the ANC.
“The ANC calls on law enforcement agencies to carry out their work in relation to his matter with the greatest urgency,” Masingi said.
He said given the fact that the ward councillor had been formerly charged, ANC corrective measures would be implemented as per the ANC’s constitution and guidelines on disciplinary dictates.
“The ANC will immediately develop a contingency leadership and governance plan for the community of ward 71 while the legal matters relating to the ward councillor are running their due natural course.
“The ANC in Ekurhuleni reaffirms it’s stance of denouncing the destruction of property and looting by anyone, including our members in general, and deployees,” Masingi said.
He added that thegoverning party would deploy other councillors to assist with governance in Ward 71 while Silawule dealt with his legal issues.