Eastern Cape's 'No Nonsense' Director-General Resigns Over Rape Allegations
Besieged Eastern Cape Director-General, Dr Loyiso Mbabane, resigned from his post over the weekend. Dr Mbabane, who is still in police custody, is accused of raping a relative.
He was denied bail last week by an East London magistrate who reportedly said that Mbabane could interfere with witnesses in the case after it was revealed that he had tried to bribe the victim into dropping the case.
He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on the 25th of March.
Earlier on Monday, Eastern Cape premier, Phumulo Masualle, held a media briefing where he officially confirmed Mbabane's resignation, barely a month after he assumed the position.
Masualle’s spokesperson, Nomfanelo Kota, says the Premier had accepted his resignation and commended him for putting the interest of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government and the Office of the Premier ahead of his own.
"We were starting to feel his positive impact in the short period he has served in Provincial Government. We will now proceed with processes to fill the administrative void his departure has created," she said
Acting DG Mahlubandile Qwase will continue in this position until further notice.
The DG was arrested in the parking lot of his Bhisho office on January 23.
It is allegedly that Mbabane, who is an ex-Walter Sisulu University academic, gave the victim “what she thought was alcohol, but turned out to be a spiked drink” in their rural homestead on the eve of her grandmother’s funeral in 2005.
The victim, who was 15 at the time, passed out immediately.
“When she asked what the liquid was, she was told by the accused that it will make her clever,” investigating officer, Ntombozuko Ngxazisa, testified in court.
She said that the young woman claims to have been raped on numerous times since 2005, “including every time the accused comes home for holidays”.
Ngxazisa said the latest incident took place in a city flat belonging to Mbabane, which was occupied by the complainant and her younger brother on the night before his arrest.
It was further alleged Mbabane used a “wooden stick” to threaten her before he dragged her by her hair, threw her onto a bed and raped her.
The investigating officer told the court that some family members had visited Mbabane while he was in custody at the Fleet Street police station over the weekend, together with the young woman, and that he had cried in front of family members “before admitting that he had raped” her.
“He was crying and he admitted to family members that he had indeed committed the offence, that he was sorry for his actions and that he will make sure that it never happens again if charges could be dropped,” Ngxazisa told the stunned courtroom.
According to Ngxazisa, the young woman had reported her ordeal to some family members and a meeting was held last year to try and stop it.
“She did not report to police some of the previous incidents because he was supporting them financially. However, her nightmare never stopped and last Thursday she felt that enough was enough and decided to report the matter to police,” Ngxazisa told the court.
Ngxazisa said the young woman, a student in East London, was contemplating dropping out of school and returning to her rural homestead “as she fears that this will not stop should the accused be released on bail”.
In his affidavit, Mbabane said that he should be granted bail because he was responsible for the “maintenance, education and general upkeep” of his three children, the complainant and her brother.
He was also supporting “many” unemployed extended family members and his ex-wife, and that they all will be “impoverished” if he was denied bail and loses the R1.7 million-a-year job he had officially started on January 6.
He said keeping him in jail would “paralyse” the provincial government as he was responsible for the administration of all government departments in the province.
“I also play the role of secretary to the provincial cabinet and therefore it is extremely important that I be released on bail.
“If I am denied my freedom for longer, the provincial government will be paralysed by my absence as certain documents which require my signature cannot be signed, therefore delaying service delivery,” Mbabane said.
“The province faces serious challenges which in order to be addressed, will require my continuous presence,” he told the court.
Dr Mbabane beat four other top administrators - current head of the Eastern Cape planning commission Nozuko Yokwana; former head of treasury Monde Tom; former provincial health boss Dr Siva Pillay; and former DG Mbulelo Sogoni, to land Bhisho’s sought-after director-general position.
While Kota, declined to confirm whether the candidates for the DG position had been vetted, she said the Office of the Premier’s (OTP) legal team was “gathering all the information that will allow us to make an informed decision” following the DG being denied bail.
Mbabane had been hyped as going to be a “no-nonsense” DG. He shocked many when he summoned all OTP senior managers to a brainstorming session on January 2.
Mbabane’s colleagues described him as an “A+ guy” who had plans to change the fortunes of the Bhisho administration.
“He was vetted just like anyone else.
The two candidates recommended by the panel as top candidates were screened even more. I know everything was above board,” a source told the Daily Dispatch.
Besides being a respected academic at the Walter Sisulu University where he was an Executive Dean, Dr Mbabane was also appointed as Chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity in 2012.
Mbabane’s trial is set to start on March 25.
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