Cape Town – As the ANC grapples with fresh sexual assault allegations against its leaders, a Stellenbosch woman who laid similar complaints against the party’s former Western Cape leader says she is still waiting to have her day in court – three years later.
Louisa Wynand, who laid a sexual harassment charge against her then-boss, former ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman, in 2016, said she was worried that the case had taken such a long time to get before the courts.
This comes after the Northern Cape National Prosecuting Authority said earlier this week that Fransman would appear in the Kimberly magistrate’s court for this matter, despite there being no formal charge sheet.
Wynand said she simply wanted the matter to be resolved. “I am pleased that there is movement on the case. However, I am concerned that the investigators on the case informed the media of this new development, as opposed to informing the parties involved. I really hope this is not going to be a case that is going to be heard and judged in the media.”
Wynand’s misgivings come as the ANC investigates sexual harassment and rape allegations made by two women against acting spokesman Zizi Kodwa and spokesman Pule Mabe.
This week the pair were removed from their positions within the party pending internal investigations.
In recent years, the ANC has received harsh criticism for its lack of policy on matters of sexual harassment, including some from its Women’s League which called for action against those found guilty.
Responding to the rape allegations against the party’s spokespersons, the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) said rape remained a serious problem in the country and called on police to “act without fear or favour”.
Secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said: “Whilst we take into account the principles of innocent until proven guilty, the ANCWL is resolute in supporting the victims of sexual harassment and rape, and we wish to reiterate this position.”
Lisa Vetten, a researcher at the Wits City Institute at Wits University, said political parties had not put policies in place to deal with sexual harassment and assault.
She said politics was a masculine environment and there was an expectation that women must adapt.
Vetten added that during the #NotOurLeaders campaign, a movement founded to highlight "inaction or inconsistent action of political parties when it came to sexual violence", political parties were asked for their sexual harassment policies, but “not one of them came back to us”.
She said women in legislatures and municipalities faced difficulties when reporting sexual harassment.