MASHUDU SADIKE AND ISAAC RAMOTHWALA
A Limpopo business man and member of the Radical Economic Transformation Forum (RETF) involved in a bloody scuffle with EFF members in Polokwane last week, that left three people in hospital and one in ICU, has accused EFF Provincial secretary Jossey Buthane of disrupting their meeting because of ulterior motives.
According to Thabiso Rasebotsa, his organisation was having a peaceful meeting with Construction Company Basil Read when Buthane and some EFF members stormed into the yard to assault them. He claims Buthane launched his reign of terror because he is benefiting from business projects his lobby group are complaining about in the area.
Speaking to African Times after leaving his hospital bed in Polokwane, Rasebotse said that Buthane was somehow benefitting from the projects concerned which may have made him uncomfortable with the RETF’s campaign for economic freedom.
“What else would explain the manner in which he and his people attacked me? I’m not a politician and have nothing against the EFF. There is something else at play here.” Rasebotse said.
The RETF members were to meet with private companies to discuss how Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from the government’s procurement policy which requires that they be given at least 30% of the total value of the projects in their areas.
African Times last week reported that Buthane and his fellow EFF members had allegedly assaulted members of the lobby group with sticks and pick-handles, resulting in Rasebotsa and councillor Papas Maakamedi being hospitalised with serious body injuries.
“When the meeting was about to start, some of our members started screaming that one of our members was getting attacked and we rushed out to help but realised he was already taken to hospital by a car believed to be owned by Jossey Buthane.
“I then confronted Jossey as to what he had wanted because there was not a single political party invited in our meeting, when he told me that he was not there to address me. In my protests he began to insult me and called me by my genitalia. As we exchanged words a bakkie stopped in front of us carrying men with pick-handles in their hands.” Rasebotsa gushed.
He added that Buthane gestured at some men in the bakkie to start with the assault. When he tried to run some of them blocked his way and Buthane took the pick-handle from one of his associates and started pounding him on the head with it.
South African Police Service (SAPS) Limpopo spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed that a case of assault with grievous bodily harm (GBH) was opened against Buthane and he appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate Court.
“Mr Jossey Buthane appeared in court on two accounts of assault with GBH and one count of intimidation. Up to this point, the complainants have only mentioned Mr Buthane as a suspect,” said Ngoepe.
In addition, Ngoepe said that Buthane was granted bail of R2000.00 and that the matter had been postponed to the 11th of July 2018.
When contacted, Buthane said that he couldn’t comment on the matter because he was implicated and referred African Times to EFF’s acting Provincial Chairperson Rendani Munyai, who dismissed the accusations made by Rasebotse.
“This person is confused! It’s a total lie that The Provincial Secretary has ulterior motives. Jossey has no business interests in any form of businesses close to them. By now we would know in what capacity he would be serving as if he was interested in business in Polokwane. It’s a blatant lie,” exclaimed Munyai.
She reiterated that Buthane was not alone in a statement sent out by the party last week, warning RETF of their alleged harassment of black businesses in Polokwane. She said the statement was issued by EFF and not Buthane in his personal capacity.
She accused RETF members of targeting Buthane.
“RETF people go around closing businesses of our fellow black brothers and sisters who are trying to put food on the table for their children because they are no longer getting tenders. They are fighting among themselves,” she said.
When asked if Buthane would be summoned to internal disciplinary proceedings if found guilty, she said that there was a case that was opened in a court of law and that they would cross that bridge when they got there. Munyai reiterated that she saw no need for any disciplinary processes.
“There is nothing against Jossey; the EFF will never fold its arms. It will defend the defenceless. They want to divert the people of Limpopo to think that the Provincial Secretary is corrupt,” she closed.
Rasebotsa also said that he lost money and two of his cell phones during the scuffle and that they had opened a case of assault, attempted murder and robbery. He also accused the police of dragging their feet.
“I am surprised why he [Buthane] is receiving special treatment. He was never arrested. I went to the police station to ask why this was the case and was told that the evidence was not sufficient even when I showed them my bruises. He [Buthane] goes around telling people he was untouchable,” he concluded.