Cope clears Madisha of sexual harassment charges

2010-10-08 14:09

The Congress of the People (Cope) disciplinary committee has cleared Willie Madisha of sexual harassment charges.

The charge sheet for Wednesday’s disciplinary hearing alleged, firstly, that Madisha had “disrespectfully and intentionally touched” Cope Women’s Movement interim secretary Nozipho Didiza-Ndlela “on her buttocks”.

Secondly, it alleged that he had intentionally touched Didiza-Ndlela on her private parts.

In its findings, the committee said, having heard and considered the evidence of both sides, it had concluded that there was no substantial evidence to believe that Madisha had violated Cope’s constitution “under the article that deals with sexual misconduct”.

“The committee therefore found that the defendant was not guilty of sexual harassment, as charged.”

On the first charge, the committee found Didiza-Ndlela’s evidence was inconsistent with her behaviour during and immediately after the incident.

“She could not sustain her claim that she was very emotional and disturbed,” the committee said.

Her two witnesses had informed her at the last minute that they were not available for the hearing, despite them being within easy reach of the hearing and having earlier confirmed their attendance.

On the second charge, the committee said clarity was requested on the wording “private parts”, as Didiza-Ndlela had stated it was not on her “private parts”, but rather a violation of her privacy as a woman.

“As a result, this charge was not proved, as the complainant admitted that it had never happened.”

Madisha had stated that in passing close behind her in the passage, his body had accidentally touched hers. However, he said he did not squeeze her buttocks.

“I never used my hand to touch her,” he said.

“It was found that the defendant’s evidence was consistent and that he stuck to his account of events,” the committee said.
“He further called a witness to substantiate his evidence.

“The witness performed in a way that corroborated the evidence of the defendant.

He was found to be a credible witness, as he was present when the incident occurred,” the committee said.

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