It’s a relief that murder suspect Patrick Wisani, who was the ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL) Joburg inner-city chairman when he allegedly beat his girlfriend to death, has resigned from the party A letter from Wisani to ANC leaders, which has been seen by the Sunday Independent, excuses him from all party activities.
We can only hope that it was those ANC leaders themselves who compelled Wisani to step back, as it’s been increasingly disturbing to see his lack of probity, despite the charges against him.
Not only did Wisani attempt to have his bail conditions relaxed so that he could take part in local government elections; he was reported to have returned to Yeoville, the scene of the murder, even after he was instructed not to do so out of concern that he could interfere with witnesses.
But there’s another aspect to this which reflects poorly on the party and, in particular, on its Women’s League. Although the ANCYL suspended Wisani as its inner city chairman, it was far too quiet about this, but the ANCWL was even more disappointing in its response.
We should expect nothing less of a body like this, with its illustrious history, than to come out boldly and publicly to distance itself from an ANC member suspected of such appalling crimes against a woman and society.
Although Wisani remains a suspect, and the onus was certainly not on the ANC, the ANCYL or the ANCWL to pass judgment on him, we believe his charges offered these organisations an opportunity to restate their commitment to gender equality and against abuse. After all, those principles are regularly cited whenever the party needs support in communities.
Rather, it’s been left up to courageous NGOs like Sonke Gender Justice and People Opposing Women Abuse to protest when Wisani appeared in court and raise their voices on behalf of all women.