The party came to power on an anti-corruption ticket and is battling to hold the moral high ground
Newspapers have a way with words.
The headline in one newspaper recently screamed “Sex mayor put on ice”.
From a distance, one could easily think the article was about a mayor whose main job was about sex.
But it turned out the story was about Stevens Mokgalapa, the mayor of our capital city [Tshwane], who was placed on special leave – which has since been cancelled – after an audio recording of what is claimed was “some activity” in a municipal office did the rounds.
The leaked audio recording was alleged to be a conversion between Mokgalapa and the MMC for roads and transport Sheila Senkubuge which, according to those in the know, also involved a moment of passion and ecstasy.
This incident happened a few weeks after the word “tiger” was given a new political meaning when another politician was alleged to have been part of a threesome in a crime of passion.
He was described by the young woman involved as a “tiger in bed”.
Of course she may have meant his strength when she used the metaphor.
Those in the know argue that the aggression of a tiger before sex does not match the 30 seconds of the actual deed.
I realise now that if anyone calls me a tiger, this amounts to a serious demerit on my performance.
Now, unlike the tiger politician, the “sex mayor” is on ice and probably waiting to melt, if that ever happens.
If this happens, Mokgalapa may join a growing group of unrepentant sex crazy public officials the world over whose passionate tendencies have been exposed.
His moral standing will be severely compromised as he will be declared one of those who lost moral courage.
However, the loss of this moral courage may not translate to the loss of power for Mokgalapa.
Before this incident, he already faced a rather uncertain future because his party’s running of Tshwane was already a contested issue.
The recent events in the DA already put Mokgalapa’s party on the back foot.
He may have accelerated the party’s loss of power at a time when the DA needed to keep bragging about its good track record where it governs.
The saying that politics can be unforgiving has been give true meaning – courtesy of “sex in the city” of Tshwane.
The DA ascended to power on an anti-corruption ticket, taking the moral high ground.
Those who remember the story of one Eugène Terre’Blanche, the late erstwhile leader of the AWB who once fell off his horse Acquila, may now understand how easily moral authority dissipates.
In the same script about Terre’Blanche was the issue of him allegedly having been found drunk and only dressed in his underwear which had a little hole in it.
He was literally found with his pants down.
Former US president Bill Clinton was almost impeached for having sex with an intern in the White House.
Those who tried to use this to unseat the former American president had forgotten that even during his campaign, he had faced a sex scandal but went on to win the election and become president.
Now Mokgalapa is alleged to have had sex in the municipal offices.
Not wholly unexpected, the allegations are being denied despite political detractors claiming the recording of the moment of passion is authentic.
Political detractors of the mayor and his party have been quick to use the incident for what they think is their greatest advantage.
They see this as the best opportunity to highlight what they call corruption which they have been talking about without getting sufficient attention.
Sex has now become a toxin in the life of the mayor and the DA.
In the bigger scheme of things though, the real issue is less about the mayor’s “tiger moment” but the penchant by those who abuse political power.
The moral lapse of having that “tiger moment” in the office is a favourite past time in this space.
Even detractors may not meet the basic angelic criteria on this issue.
We must, however, be grateful that the mayor could not manage his urges, assuming the allegations are true.
We must be grateful because at least those who have been singing angelic songs are providing us with the hard evidence that they have forked tongues.
They have sung the angelic songs so much that one would be tempted to believe they have the master keys to heaven when in fact they are the ones controlling access to the gates of hell.
The mayor and his party keep wanting the nation to believe that they truly uphold the values and virtues of upright leadership.
The hard evidence is pointing in the opposite direction.
The fact that the DA has attempted to put him on ice, does not detract from the fact that they already failed the basic moral test.
It is possible that his party may have just appointed a mayor who identifies incumbency with using his power for other purposes.
Ratepayers appreciate that, just like everyone, the mayor must have his tiger moment.
But they surely did not imagine a mayor roaming naked in a municipal office instead of sitting studiously on his mayoral chair working on fixing the potholes in their suburbs and attending to their other needs.
Now the ratepayers must start wondering what a day in their mayor’s life looks like.
We are in the middle of the harrowing evidence at the Zondo commission on state capture.
The last few days have revealed sordid details of what our state house had become.
We have now been exposed to the reality that what we thought was a study in state house was in fact the boardroom of an aggravated form of abuse of state power which was leased out as the true head office of the capture of our state.
Now we also have the top municipal office in Tshwane allegedly turned into a sex room.
The mayor and his party have taught us a great lesson in real hypocrisy.
We are still recovering from the shock of what are clearly entrenched racial issues within the DA which obviously undermined their publicly stated fallacy of a party which upholds equality.
We are now confronted with a case of moral bankruptcy in the same party.
Not very long ago, there were allegations of sexual favours and/or abuse in the same party.
Not wholly unexpected, these were swept under the carpet.
In 2015, the DA was rocked by a sex scandal after a woman sent out an email claiming that she was one of the several colleagues used by men in the party as “playthings”.
These men included senior DA leaders.
We must now wonder whether the “playthings” issue in the DA is not part and parcel of the make-up of the very party which claims the moral high ground.
Like the late Terre’Blanche, the DA must accept that it has fallen from that moral high ground.
As Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright puts it: “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
Maybe in real terms, the esteemed mayor of Tshwane was simply exercising his power in his alleged tiger moment.
After all the power of the city is in his hands.
In any event, history may just be on his side.
As columnist Paul Waldman aptly puts it: “When it comes to sex scandals, the politicians who are the most guilty and the least repentant are the ones who survive.”
All our sex mayor must do is to be less repentant if he wants to keep the mayoral chain.
The rest will be history.
Mannya is an advocate, writer and executive director of legal services at Unisa
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