ANC group walks free of assault rap

THE case against five members of an ANC branch who allegedly assaulted a speaker of the Thulamela municipality has been dropped.

Duncan Hlatshwayo, Joyce Chauke, Agnes Maluleke, Mercy Makhubele and Nandi Ndalane were acquitted in the Malamulele magistrate's court yesterday.

The five were initially charged with the assault of Faith Chauke and damaging her car at Jilongo High School two months ago.

The case relates to problems at the branch, which split into two camps, one supporting Vhembe District executive mayor Falaza Mdaka and the other supporting his challenger Moss Tseli.

The branch general meeting, which was to elect members to the regional conference of the party, failed to take place after failure to form a quorum five times.

The Tseli group finally won the day after the branch failed to go to the conference.

On the day of the alleged assault on Chauke, Ndalane, who is a member of the provincial legislature, was a deployed to the branch by the ANC regional office to facilitate a peace process between the two warring factions of the party.

Chauke was not deployed but had gone there to back up secretary Gail Khosa who was not happy that the branch supported Mdaka.

A fight broke out over a document at the meeting and Chauke's car was said to have been damaged in the process.

At a previous court hearing , Chauke indicated that she was withdrawing the case but magistrate Dan Maluleke turned down her proposal until the two parties could have signed an agreement form about the damages to the car.

Yesterday the court heard that Chauke's opponents have agreed to fix her car and the two warring factions seem to have smoked the peace pipe.