Jordaan justifies his silence as empathy for victims of gender-based violence

2017-11-01 15:37
Danny Jordaan (File, Gallo Images)

Danny Jordaan (File, Gallo Images)

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Johannesburg – Former SA Football Association boss Danny Jordaan says empathy towards victims of gender-based violence led him to remain silent on rape allegations levelled against him.

Jordaan finally broke his silence on Wednesday, releasing a statement in which he denied allegations by former ANC MP and singer, Jennifer Ferguson, that he had raped her in a hotel room 24 years ago.

The statement, sent through attorney Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, stated that the former football boss had to consider his response carefully due to the "scourge of gender-based violence" in South Africa and his "sensitivity toward the issue".

"Dr Jordaan’s perceived silence in the face of such serious allegations is because of his empathy with the victims of gender-based violence. Dr Jordaan has, however, after careful consideration, decided to assert his innocence."

READ: Danny Jordaan denies rape allegation

Mohlala-Mulaudzi went on to encourage that the allegations be tested in a court of law.

"Whilst Dr Jordaan supports public debate as an essential tool to highlight the issue of gender-based violence, in this case, there are two opposing versions that cannot be resolved in the media, or elsewhere, in substitution for a court of law."

She said that Ferguson's mediation suggestion ran the risk that the public would perceive that there was a cover-up, away from the glare of public scrutiny and "that there is one law for the powerful and another for the masses".

She added that Jordaan was advised not to participate in a public discourse regarding the allegations.

"From a legal viewpoint, serious allegations of the kind made by Ms Ferguson can only be ventilated in a court of law, where the rights of all parties are protected."

Jordaan should have responded earlier

However, Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) believes that Jordaan should have responded earlier.

Speaking to News24, operations director Vincentia Dlamini said Jordaan's reason for his silence, that he was sensitive about issues surrounding gender-based violence, didn’t speak to his delay.

"The response that was needed at the time when the allegations were made, was whether he did rape Ms Ferguson or not."

She said justice should be served regardless of someone's social standing.

"The SA criminal justice system should also set a precedent that, regardless of your power fame and money, it will follow procedure."

Dlamini added that, while people should not be prosecuted through the media, Jordaan was a well-known public figure.

"He holds a position of power and it is a matter of public interest. A move like that would show victims how our system is operating."

She said that it would be good if Ferguson took the matter to court.

During a Radio 702 show on Tuesday evening, Ferguson indicated that she would consider legal action.

READ: Danny Jordaan will welcome criminal case over rape allegations – lawyer

It also emerged during the show that two other women, who have not been identified, also accused Jordaan of sexually inappropriate behaviour.

Journalist Faith Daniels alleged that, during a social gathering, a woman came forward to her and claimed that Jordaan had attempted to rape her, but that he "got away".

Ferguson also indicated during the radio show that another woman wanted to keep her identity hidden but still talk about her alleged inappropriate experience with Jordaan.

"The third person will come through in a protected identity. There are huge business and power interests that are being threatened. We are perceived as a honey trap, part of some hidden conspiracy. But we are guided by our own impulse to heal."

Read more on:    jennifer ferguson  |  danny jordaan  |  sexual abuse

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