Bongani Bongo set for high court as ANC comrades vow 'he will never walk alone'
The corruption case against ANC MP Bongani Bongo has been postponed to February 21.
Magistrate Louis Jacobus Human of the Cape Town magistrate's court said the matter was being postponed to February to arrange transfer of the matter to the high court.
Bongo, a former state security minister and now chair of the parliamentary committee on home affairs, is facing a charge of corruption in relation to an allegation that he offered a bribe to Ntuthuzelo Vanara, the evidence leader of the parliamentary inquiry into the capture of Eskom by the Guptas.
In a sworn statement, Vanara claimed that Bongo offered him a “blank cheque” if he would suppress the investigation.
Bongo denies the allegation and has previously accused public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan of orchestrating the case against him. Before that he had blamed former National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and then ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu of being behind the allegations, claiming they were jealous of his ministerial appointment.
Bongo was supported in court by a handful of ANC members, including ANC MPs Supra Mahumapelo, Mosebenzi Zwane and Mervyn Dirks, among others.
Zwane, speaking for the group of Bongo's supporters, told journalists after the court appearance that he was confident the case against Bongo would be dismissed.
“We are here to be in solidarity with our comrades. We are here to put the message across that we are law-abiding citizens, but we won't judge comrade Bongo up until this case is finished.
“We know the outcome of the case and it should not take people by surprise that we are here to support our colleague.
“It should be a logical thing to support each other during these times. He will never walk alone,” said Zwane.
He said they would mobilise more ANC members to attend Bongo's next appearance and fill up the court.
Mahumapelo claimed that the case against Bongo was politically motivated.
He warned that they would soon reveal a number of cases which, he said, were politically engineered by ANC members against some of their own comrades.
“When you look at developments in the country, you can see that some of the cases are politically engineered. We know of people who are being approached and very soon we are going to say that publicly, people who are being approached to try to implicate some of the comrades within the ANC and that is being done by some of the leaders and members of the ANC,” he said.
“That is why I am saying, yes, the rule of law must take place without fear, favour, but the politics of the cases bring about prejudice. And as we move forward we will demonstrate why we are saying there is prejudice, because almost everything else is informed by the politics,” said Mahumapelo.
“You can't have a country where there is a certain section of leaders in the ANC (for whom) the narrative is just about, when are they being arrested, it's not about whether they are innocent or guilty but it's a question of when,” he said.