Alleged sex pest in line for top job in Southern Cape DA-led council

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Adv. Thys Giliomee, munisipale bestuurder van Mosselbaai. Foto: Eugene Gunning
Adv. Thys Giliomee, munisipale bestuurder van Mosselbaai. Foto: Eugene Gunning
  • Sexual harassment-accused and former Mossel Bay municipal manager Thys Giliomee is set to return to the local government arena. 
  • Giliomee left the Mossel Bay Municipality earlier this year under a dark cloud, after his contract was terminated amid sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. 
  • He is now first in line for a top job in another DA-run council as the new municipal manager for the Hessequa Local Municipality.  

Former Mossel Bay municipal manager Thys Giliomee has resurfaced as the DA's first choice for the Hessequa Local Municipality, despite him being fired amid sexual harassment and misconduct allegations earlier this year.

Giliomee was placed on special leave in April this year for serious misconduct following an investigation showing he had a prima facie case of sexual harassment to answer to.

It is alleged he sexually harassed a junior employee and was initially placed on special leave by the Mossel Bay Municipality following the allegations.

Following extensive negotiations, the Mossel Bay council announced in July it had terminated Giliomee's contract. This before he could face a disciplinary hearing.

The parties are said to have signed a nondisclosure agreement but it is believed the municipality at the time paid out the rest of his contract as municipal manager.

News24 was, however, unable to confirm how much the payout was.

This week, municipal insiders revealed Giliomee applied for a position as municipal manager at the Hessequa Local Municipality and was set to start in the new year.

The municipality covers the towns of Albertinia, Gouritsmond, Heidelberg, Jongensfontein, Riversdale, Slangrivier, Still Bay and Witsand.

Giliomee was interviewed and chosen as the successful candidate to take over the reins of the local government authority.

READ MORE | Mossel Bay municipal manager's contract terminated following sexual harassment claims

He has not yet been formally appointed.

Hessequa Mayor Grant Riddles confirmed Giliomee had applied for the position.

"The process is ongoing. We have sent his appointment for approval and whether the processes were correctly followed,” Riddles said.

He added the municipality was aware of the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Giliomee.

"We are aware of them, we approached the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to enquire about it and they confirmed his records are clean."

Riddles said the appointment report and council resolution were being checked by the provincial Department of Local Government as prescribed in legislation.

Opposition parties were up in arms over the developments in Hessequa.

Patriotic Alliance councillor Ivan Mangaliso said it was clear the DA was morally wrong to appoint an alleged sex pest as municipal manager who was dismissed by the Mossel Bay Municipality.

"We believe that he is not fit to hold office and therefore not a fit and proper appointment. The DA should account and apologise over this appointment. 

"We call on Giliomee not to take up the post, or on the provincial government to block the appointment," Mangaliso added.

ANC provincial spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni said the party was not surprised by the appointment.

"The DA is hypocritical and downright immoral. They are merely concerned about capturing municipalities in order to serve the privileged and care little about the poor coloured and black people in the province.

READ | Mossel Bay's municipal manager suspended for alleged sexual misconduct

"It is the DA that made Jeffrey Donson the mayor for many years while they knew his sexual reckless behaviour and conviction for statutory rape. It is them again reaffirming a suspended alleged sexual harassment offender to go and further harass female workers in Hessequa."

Mtsweni added it was time the DA was called out and exposed for its wrongdoing.

"We will challenge this appointment," he vowed.

Icosa provincial leader Dawid Kamfer said the DA was quick to point fingers at party president Jeffrey Donson - who was convicted more than 17 years ago for statutory rape - but then it in turn did the same thing by appointing a suspected sex pest as municipal manager.

"This is clearly double standards. If the DA claims women and children are not safe with Donson as a mayor, how safe will women be with a suspected sex pest as a municipal manager," Kamfer added.

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said the comments from members of the public relating to the appointment of the municipal manager of the Hessequa Municipality have been noted.

"Correspondence was received from the Office of the Mayor of Hessequa on 30 November 2021 to this effect and the Department of Local Government is currently assessing it."

Bredell added his office would check on the compliance of the individual, his qualifications, competencies and years of relevant experience and skill required for the position of municipal manager.

"We also check whether the municipality was compliant with the recruitment and selection process as prescribed by the applicable regulatory framework," he said.

Approached for comment on his new position, Giliomee said: "I have no knowledge about being appointed." 

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