Pretoria – The ANC in Tshwane has distanced itself from its senior official in Ga-Rankuwa Zone 20, who is facing charges of raping a female member of his constituency.
Regional spokesman Teboho Joala said the ANC would comment after it had established all the facts related to the allegations against the politician, who cannot be named because of the nature of the alleged offence.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said a rape case had been opened against the politician and was under investigation. The case would be taken to court.
However, the man denied the charges and attributed the case to election season and related volatile tempers.
The charge sheet stated that the unemployed mother of two accused the official of sexually exploiting her by forcing her into having sex with him with the promise of a job and other benefits. The woman is in her 40s and the man a few years her junior.
He allegedly promised he would handle every problem she had because he held a “very powerful” position in the community and municipality.
“I watched my kids go to bed without food for days; we were always hungry. I grew desperate and turned to my ANC branch for assistance and was referred to him. They told me he would assist me. Which he undertook to do.”
She had quit her job in the mining sector in 2010 following a crippling injury. After that she did voluntary work for the Education Department for four years before quitting as she had no salary. She then asked her comrades if anyone would assist her with employment.
The man, who works for a City of Tshwane entity, first went to her house at night in March and ordered her to go with him, she claimed.
He then took her to an RDP house in the area, closed the door and forced himself on her despite her protests.
“He reminded me of my needs and later as he took me home, promised to fulfil his promises,” she said.
But he never did. Instead, he allegedely coerced her into sex two more times. “He would take me to the house under the pretence that we were going to have a discussion about a job. Once there, he would remind me that I had a desperate need and then forced himself on me again.”
In a text message, the Pretoria News has seen, the woman opened up to him about not enjoying their sexual liaisons.
“You led me on but failed to deliver on your promises. You know how painful it is to have sex with you, and then to be ignored and lied to by you after you got what you wanted. How many times must I have sex with you before you fulfil your promises?”
In his alleged response, he said he had organised for her to get employment effective from June 1.
This never happened.
He offered to seek a long-term solution for her problems, but at that stage she sought advice for the humiliation and shame she suffered at the hands of the politician. “I was advised to open a case of rape,” she added.
Rape Crisis, an organisation that supports rape survivors, said the case of rape was appropriate under the circumstances.
“The man took advantage of her situation and used his position of power to subdue her into sex,” said co-ordinator Chanele Sredericks.
She said that while the impression given could be that she had gone into the situation willingly, it had to be taken into consideration that she had been given no choice and her vulnerability was used for him to get his way.
“A lot of factors need to be considered when assault is classified. In this case, she was unemployed, had children to care for and had turned to a movement seen to be the government. She got the promise of an improved quality of life if she played by his rules,” she said. “Instead of advising her on the social grant system and other ways out of her poverty, he treated her as his sex slave,” she said.
The prevalence of such acts of harassment was high, Sredericks said. Police opening such cases would be familiar with the Sexual Offences Act. “They accepted a rape charge and launched an investigation because they had taken facts into consideration and declared it was indeed a rape.”
The politician sang a different tune when contacted by the Pretoria News. First he denied any knowledge of the case, but later said he had in fact opened a case of intimidation and harassment against the woman.
“Taking into account that I am a community leader, this is a direct attack on my character,” he said.
He denied sleeping with the woman and said if she had a complaint, she should have lodged it through the internal structures of the ANC. “It is election time. Emotions run high. People will be used against others.”