Cape Town - The ANC’s Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman has denied claims he paid a bribe to a woman to make allegations of sexual harassment go away.
Fransman told the Cape Argus on Sunday that there were reports “in some papers and media” that he had paid a R50 000 bribe to the complainant, believed to be a female staffer.
He said the reports also said the police handling the case had offered the alleged victim a bribe of R50 000 to stay tight-lipped about the alleged incident.
“I reaffirm my views and I am calling on everyone to respect the process.
“It is not a nice thing to happen to anyone but we live in a democracy where anyone can get up and actually make any allegations at any police station.
“Whether it is true of not is a different matter,” he said.
The incident is alleged to have happened when Fransman and his colleagues were on their way to Rustenburg for the ANC’s 104th birthday celebrations.
Fransman said there were “serious dark forces behind this”.
“The alleged incident took place on January 2 and only on Friday (January 8), on the birthday of the African National Congress, was the information released as breaking news,” he said.
“They waited for the cutting of the cake before releasing it. The timing was well-calculated.”
A report from a Sunday newspaper disclosed information purporting to be from the docket.
It said the complainant was appointed as a personal assistant to Fransman earlier this month.
The report said that according to the docket, the first incident of alleged sexual harassment occurred in the car on the way to the venue in Rustenburg.
The second incident is alleged to have occurred in a hotel room in Kimberley.
Fransman said the allegations could be a ploy to humiliate him and the party.
“There was first a rape charge, then sexual harassment and I am dismissing the charges but I will let the law take its course. I hope no one, and especially anyone in the ANC, could have stooped to such a level, to embroil the ANC celebrations,” he said.
Fransman expressed appreciation for all the support he was receiving.
Meanwhile, other political parties have called for a thorough investigation.
Cope said the fact that a charge was laid “is indicative of its seriousness”.
“The police so far have given no indication of the nature of the charge.
“The problem of serious sexual harassment and of rape has become so severe as to warrant the sternest legal action regardless of who the person is,” the party said.
Cope added that while the investigation continued, Fransman should be suspended from all leadership positions by the ANC.
The DA and EFF also called for Fransman’s suspension.