The DA’s questionable handling of sexual harassment allegations against Solly Msimanga

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The DA’s Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga announcing the action plan for his first 100 days in office at Beyers Naude Square on April 29. Picture: Juniour Khumalo
The DA’s Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga announcing the action plan for his first 100 days in office at Beyers Naude Square on April 29. Picture: Juniour Khumalo

NEWS


DA Gauteng member of the legislature Nkele Molapo, has strongly criticised the manner in which the party chose to handle her sexual harassment complaint against DA Gauteng interim leader Solly Msimanga.

Through a media statement shared with City Press, Molapo said while she “had elected to rather have dealt with it internally,” she had since changed her mind given that instead of acknowledging her complaint and assuring her that they will conduct a thorough investigation free of bias, the DA elected to inform the accused.

“He (Msimanga) then rushed to social media displaying a behaviour of someone having a serious meltdown, in a lousy attempt to mobilize public sympathy, and obviously denied the incident,” reads Molapo’s statement.

The DA’s statement in response quotes DA Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty: “It is alleged that the sexual harassment occurred seven years ago,” adding that “the timing of reporting this incident raises questions about the veracity of the complaint”.

Seemingly discrediting Molapo’s claims, Moriarty added that: “Furthermore, it should be noted that the complainant Ms Molapo is undergoing a serious disciplinary hearing”.

Read: Inside the DA’s purge: Some members face disciplinary hearings, others bail to join Mashaba’s party

Molapo clarified that she had lodged a sexual harassment complaint with her party “against a senior leader just over a week ago, on October 3,” and that the incident, contrary to Moriarty’s statement, had taken “place six years ago in 2014, and not seven years as the statement reads”.

Molapo spoke out after Moriarty’s statement in which he questioned Molapo’s timing, and the fact that she was facing “serious charges,” while painting Msimanga as a willing participant who “even agreed to take a lie detector test”.

Molapo went on to say “on Friday, I wrote to the party’s leadership expressing my discomfort in attending a party event which was to be held [on Saturday], due to the possibility of the accused attending as well. The party moved swiftly to accept my apology, opting to rather have the accused attend than the victim.

“[On Sunday], eight days after I lodged the complaint, the DA then issued a statement publicly through the media, casting aspersions on my complaint, questioning the timing which I’m ready and willing to defend.

“The DA went further and announced, using official party communications machinery, that the accused opened a crimen injuria case. The least I expected was for my party to remain neutral and subject both myself and the accused to a thorough and unbiased hearing. I now doubt the fairness of the hearing, with good reason,” said Molapo.

She added that throughout the week she “remained disciplined and resisted the urge to throw cheap jabs on social media, I even declined to comment when journalists called me for comment. I wanted to afford the party the opportunity to deal with this matter, without external pressure”.

Responding to the “serious allegations” that she is facing, which Msimanga as acting Gauteng leader was expected to announce the outcome of, Molapo said these did not motivate her allegations.

Read: Overlooked Tshwane mayoral candidate jumps DA ship, joins Mashaba

“It is not a secret that I was accused of leaking confidential party information to (EFF leader) Julius Malema. What should be noted here is that even when Malema denied ever receiving the screenshot from me in a November 2018 Sowetan article, the party still went ahead and charged me. This I believe was because they believed they have a strong case against me.

“I subjected myself to all internal processes and remained disciplined throughout the two years in which this case has been ongoing. I had my last appeal on September 4, and my counsel and I were promised an outcome on September 18. Three weeks later, we are yet to receive an outcome. We are ready and prepared either way,” said Molapo.

She said given the bias that has already been displayed by her own party, she had decided to withdraw her internal complaint and rather pursue a case with the SA Police Services.

“I will be withdrawing the internal complaint I lodged with my party. Although I expressed my confidence in our internal processes, I don’t feel the same anymore. I will instead be opening a sexual harassment case with SAPS. This is in the interest of fairness and justice,” she said.

Molapo said she would also be writing to the speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature expressing her discomfort in attending house sittings with the accused.

Read: Moodey becomes latest former DA member to join Mashaba’s party

When approached for comment on Friday, Msimanga did not respond while DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi had indicated that the matter was being dealt with internally.

Msimanga, however, took to social media and rubbished the allegations saying they were “concocted” and questioned why the accuser had waited so long to make the claims.

Those in his camp also questioned Molapo’s continued support of Msimanga, particularly the numerous social media posts endorsing Msimanga.

They accuse her of holding a grudge from the time he was in Tshwane and the “fact that he (Msimanga) did not endorse Molapo’s close ally Abel Tau,” who has since left the DA after being overlooked numerous time for the position of Tshwane mayor.

Moriarty did not responded to questions sent to him by City Press.

Meanwhile, Msimanga has recently thrown his name in the hat for Gauteng DA leader.

The position became vacant following the resignation of John Moodey last month.


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Juniour Khumalo 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Juniour.Khumalo@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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