DA must investigate sex scandal allegations – gender commission

2015-05-06 13:26
DA federal council chairperson James Selfe

DA federal council chairperson James Selfe

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The Commission for Gender Equality has called on the Democratic Alliance to urgently investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by senior party leaders.

This investigation must be independent and the findings should be made public, the commission’s spokesperson, Javu Baloyi, said yesterday.

“We view the allegations in a very serious light.”

The DA has dismissed an anonymous email – which accused five senior male leaders of promoting their female colleagues in exchange for sexual favours – as a “disinformation smear during an internal election”.

The party said it was investigating the origin of the email, but not the allegations. This is because none of the women who were named had laid a formal complaint using the party’s standard disciplinary processes.

Baloyi said the DA could not leave the allegations there.

“It is wrong of the DA to say it will not investigate the allegations. The onus is on the DA to do what is right, not on the women.

“The DA is supposed to set an example, and prove the allegations as false, even if the party believes that it is a smear campaign.”

Baloyi said the DA should put the allegations to the test, and show that the party is transparent.

DA federal council chairperson James Selfe would not comment on the commission’s call for an investigation. He said he wanted to see the commission’s request in writing before he reacted.

Phumzile van Damme, national DA spokesperson, said allegations that there was a culture of this nature in the DA were false.

“If there are women who feel they are forced to have sexual relationships with men in the party in order to climb the ladder, we urge them to come forward and report this.

“Our policy on sexual harassment forbids such behaviour.”

Some of the men and women who are involved are married.

Van Damme said the DA’s decision to not investigate doesn’t mean that the party condones extramarital affairs, but that it acknowledges that “these relationships between consenting adults are a case for the individuals’ consciences”.

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