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By Anel Lewis
Embattled Community Safety MEC Lennit Max says that, "because of a medical condition", he could not be the person who had sex with Belinda Petersen, a former SAPS employee, three years ago.
His medical condition meant he had not been able to have children for the past 15 years, despite claims that he had a love child during this time. Proof of this medical condition would be disclosed during legal action, Max said.
He would also reveal "certain reasons" why he could not have had sex with her in his house, as Petersen had claimed.
In a detailed four-page statement, Max said he wanted to "state the facts" about the allegations against him.
He said he represented Petersen three years ago when she was charged with insubordination. But he withdrew from her case when she made sexual advances. Max said he had an affidavit from a colleague about Petersen's relationships with married men. She reportedly had accused other colleagues of sexual harassment.
Max lodged a complaint of extortion against Petersen at the Cape Town police station last week after she threatened to leak her story to a tabloid newspaper if he did not give her a job as a spokesperson.
Max said he had only been linked to two prior sexual harassment cases, not four as was reported. In both instances, the cases were made after Max had taken disciplinary action against the complainants.
He said his former media spokesperson, Julian Jansen, would have to prove, during a legal process, his allegations that Max had made sexual advances to two women in his department. The "untrue, baseless, defamatory allegations" had damaged his integrity and position as an MEC and in the Democratic Alliance. In his statement, Max named journalists who had printed "defamatory" articles about his alleged affairs.
Meanwhile, Premier Helen Zille has revived a defunct sexual harassment policy for the Western Cape provincial government that will rule out "rumour, innuendo and agendas". The move comes just days after allegations concerning Max and an extra-marital affair hit newspaper headlines.
Zille said the new policy was being introduced to protect the rights of people who worked for the provincial government, and elected office bearers.
"Our new system will have checks and balances built in to protect people's rights against frivolous or vexatious claims to prevent abuse of the system."
Zille said there was a "potential possibility" that there were "various agendas" at play in the allegations against Max.
Max, a former provincial police commissioner, is a candidate in a hotly contested election for the provincial leadership position in the DA.
Zille said the alleged incidents involving Max took place three years ago. She questioned why Petersen had not laid a complaint with the police.
Zille said the province's sexual harassment policy would prevent similar delays in the reporting of sexual harassment cases.
It would also protect employees who wanted to report sexual harassment, but were afraid of being victimised.
She said a review of the existing government policy that was drafted in 1999 would be completed by the end of March.
About 100 councillors in the province who deal with sexual harassment allegations would get further training and meet quarterly with the premier to report on cases.
All new employees would have to do a compulsory course on sexual harassment. Zille said all municipalities and local authorities would be instructed to develop similar sexual harassment policies.
The provincial government had a "zero tolerance" approach to sexual harassment, she said.