ANC suspends councillors for 'xenophobia'

THE ANC has suspended the Western Cape councillor being investigated by the Public Protector for inciting xenophobic violence.

THE ANC has suspended the Western Cape councillor being investigated by the Public Protector for inciting xenophobic violence.

Mpumelelo Lubisi allegedly incited a group of locals from De Doorns, 140km from Cape Town, to attack 2000 Zimbabwean farm workers last November.

About 1200 of the 2000 displaced Zimbabweans are still living in a tent camp in the town, while the others have left the area.

Mandla Dlamini, spokesperson of the ANC's Western Cape provincial task team, confirmed that Lubisi had been suspended on allegations of xenophobia.

Sowetan revealed last year that displaced Zimbabweans had filed affidavits with the public protector, claiming that Lubisi had called for all their shacks to be destroyed at a public meeting.

"Lubisi told me 'you haven't seen xenophobia yet, you are going to see xenophobia'," said one man's affidavit.

But in a strange twist, the ANC has suspended another councillor on the same charges - though she opposed the xenophobia.

Dlamini confirmed that Boniswa Mfutswana was suspended because of complaints within the ANC branch that she too incited violence.

But several ANC sources said Mfutswana called in the police as soon as she heard of Lubisi's plan, asking them to act.

The spokesperson for the Zimbabwean refugee rights group People against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), Braam Hanekom, said: "Lubisi was directly involved in the xenophobic violence beyond a doubt. We welcome his suspension but we are confused by the suspension of Mfutswana.

"We've got no complaints against her."

"We fear that by suspending both of them the ANC will not be setting a precedent against Lubisi's xenophobic behaviour," he said.

Two displaced people said Mfutswana was not part of the xenophobia.

"She is the one who tried with the municipality to make sure South Africans accept us so we can go back to the community."

Mfutswana said she had been suspended but not charged. She would not comment further.

Lubisi would not comment on the xenophobic claims.

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