The Economic Freedom Fighters could be having a tough time following the arrest of one of their leaders involved in robbery.
A senior EFF leader in Limpopo has been arrested for alleged car theft and hijacking last month.
Collen Shai, the party’s chief whip in the Elias Motsoaledi local municipality in Groblersdal, was arrested after he and other suspects allegedly pointed a firearm and hijacked a minibus from a woman in Alexandra, Johannesburg.
Gauteng police spokesman Col Lungelo Dlamini said allegations were that the suspects stole a minibus.
“They allegedly confronted the girlfriend of the owner of the vehicle and took it after she was pointed with firearms,” Dlamini said.
“The suspects were allegedly accompanied by the ex-wife of the owner. After the [three] suspects drove away the incident was reported to police.”
Shai told Sowetan that he was detained for three days in the Alexandra police cells after his brother-in-law reported him to the police.
“The man who reported me to the police was married to my sister and separated in June last year. He has been constantly abusing my sister and owing social clubs under my sister’s name.
“And on top of that I’m looking after his children,” he said.
Shai said his main objective was to take the brother-in-law’s minibus and give it to his sister.
“I wanted my sister to use that minibus and look after the children because the father doesn’t do anything. After the matter was reported to the police I returned the minibus taxi on Monday this week.”
Shai denied that he pointed a firearm at the woman.
“The police investigated and didn’t find any firearm. That’s why I didn’t even appear in court, I was just released,” he said.
According to an EFF member who wished to remain anonymous, Shai was arrested in December and only came back home few days ago.
“We are going to raise this matter internally in the next coming week because [we] can’t be led by someone who is alleged to have committed a serious criminal offence.”
Municipality spokesperson Simon Makua said the municipality was not aware of Shai’s arrest.
“The speaker’s office is not aware of the incident. The EFF should write to the speaker informing the office about the incident as per procedure,” he said.
EFF provincial chairperson Jossey Buthane said the issue was a family matter and is close to being resolved.
He said there would be no disciplinary action against Shai since the matter was not political.
In November the party suspended its Thabazimbi local municipality’s ward councillor Daniel Mampeule after he was arrested on charges of robbery. He was prohibited from participating in all EFF activities.