DA MEC in sex scandal

2010-02-13 00:00

CAPE TOWN —The political future of advocate Lennit Max, the Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, is in the balance because of an alleged affair.

A few hours after the news broke Thursday, Max announced he had asked the Western Cape Premier and DA leader, Helen Zille, for permission to go on leave. She approved this.

Provincial DA leader Theuns Botha confirmed Max is on leave. “My colleague has decided to go on leave because of the allegations. I think it is in the interest of the party.”

Botha confirmed that there will be an investigation into Max’s alleged relationship.

The tabloid newspaper Son reported on Thursday that a former police clerk, Belinda Petersen (33) of Mannenberg in Cape Town, claimed she and Max had a sexual relationship.

They apparently met in his office, at home and at a local hotel.

Max and his wife, Farouz, have apparently been married for more than 20 years.

Max said the allegations against him are devoid of truth. He is going on leave because he is unable to give his full attention to the very important portfolio of Community Safety due to the cloud hanging over him, he said.

Several DA members, who wanted to remain anonymous, expressed disapproval of the alleged sexcapades of one of their leaders.

A Cape Town councillor told Die Burger there have been rumours Zille has asked Max to resign. This could not be confirmed.

Several other DA members said he will have to step down if the allegations are true. One said he doesn’t want a colleague who is guilty of something like this. “How can we rail against [President Jacob] Zuma’s behaviour if we allow something like this in our midst?”

A friend of Max and former DA councillor from Malmesbury, Deon Slade, said he knows Max wouldn’t commit such transgressions. “You have to remember there is an election coming.”

Max did not respond to SMSes or calls on Thursday. According to his statement, Zille will manage his duties.

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