ANC Limpopo’s Buthane arrested, released over Seshego violence

Joseph “Jossey” Buthane, former EFF leader in Limpopo who rejoined the ANC after falling out with EFF leader Julius Malema was arrested and released on bail on Friday.

He faces charges are of serious nature. These include attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearm and live ammunition. This relates to the violent skirmishes between ANC and EFF supporters in Seshego on Sunday.

Buthane handed himself over to the Seshego police and briefly appeared in the local magistrate’s court where he was released on a R5,000 bail.

The matter will return to court on July 2.

Buthane’s arrest stems from the allegations that he orchestrated the violent attacks in Juju Valley. This happened in the periphery of Polokwane, Limpopo last Sunday. He is alleged to have placed numerous lives under grave danger.

Video went viral on social media

The gun-wielding Buthane turned what was supposed to be an ANC door-to-door election campaign into an altercation with EFF members. He is alleged to have indiscriminately  fired gunshots at EFF members.

Videos of Buthane charging at the red berets have gone viral on social media.

During the commotion, a nine-year-old girl, Tshiamo Lebaka, was shot in the face. Several people were left battered and bruised.

The aftermath of the violent scene allegedly instigated by Buthane and his team left residents’ shacks damaged and a lot of cars in the area smashed.

During the altercation, Polokwane executive mayor, Makoro John Mpe, is also seen carrying a gun, sandwiched by his armed bodyguards.

A criminal case was subsequently opened at the Seshego police station, culminating to Buthane’s arrest.

On that fateful Sunday, Buthane is said to have arrived in Juju Valley alongside a group of menacing people wearing ANC T-shirts.

Tried to disrupt EFF tournament

According eyewitnesses, they wanted to disrupt a football tournament, organised by the EFF, so that they can stage their ANC event.

The EFF refused to be bullied by the ANC in an area known to be their stronghold.

ANC provincial secretary Reuben Madadze confirmed the arrest and raised the party’s concern. He said: “Whilst we note the arrest, the ANC Limpopo is concerned that members of the [SAPS] are only targeting ANC members. This despite criminal cases being opened against EFF members. The ANC further believes that the case against comrade Jossey is political motivated. The case aims to prevent him from mobilising support for the ANC across the province. Particularly in the last leg of elections.

ANC concerned with SAPS ‘bias’

“The ANC in Limpopo is calling upon members of the SAPS to desist from targeting its members and apply the law equally without favour.

“As the ANC in Limpopo, we will continue to monitor the situation. [We will also monitor] the conduct of the police in the manner in which they are dealing with the matter. This… pertains to the Juju Valley incidence.

“We once again call upon all our structures and members to remain calm, vigilant. They are urged to intensify our election work in these final phase of the election.”

Meanwhile, a prominent member of the EFF in the Capricorn Region said they will not release a statement following Buthane’s arrest. However, he said the party was pleased that the case is now being followed.

Law must deal with culprits

The EFF leader, who is also a member of the provincial legislature, said the law must take its course. He said: “It is now time that the long arm of the law take its [course] and remind Jossey that he is not above reproach. Jossey has this tendency of doing things his way and in most cases, he is on the wrong side of the law.

“He has been doing this for many years and never gets punished. When he was our provincial leader, he acted with impunity. That did not go down well with some of the fighters. He acted like a bull in a China shop, confusing militancy with arrogance. We tolerated him for quite some time. When the CIC [Julius Malema] tossed him to the wilderness, many fighters were relieved. And when he finally left the party, it was good riddance.”

No stranger to violence

Buthane is no stranger to court appearances. He has featured prominently in the Seshego magistrate’s court on various transgressions.     

When he was the provincial leader of the EFF, Buthane was accused of violent action. He was accused of being involved in a violent confrontation with members of the Radical Economic Transformation Forum. Several members of the EFF were accused alongside him for the alleged violent action.

Together with ANC MP Boy Mamabolo, and an unknown “third person”, Buthane was arrested for malicious damage to property and theft.

The charges related to an incident in which a shack was burnt and a house damaged. This when Seshego residents went to a house in search of alleged gang members.  

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