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Weeping William Bantom tells of Web of woe


A weeping William Bantom has poured out his heart while speaking of his personal hell in the aftermath of the porn scandal that ended his political career on Tuesday.

Bantom, the Cape Metropolitan Council mayor until his forced resignation from the New National Party and the mayor's post, also denied allegations that he had ever downloaded child porn from the Internet.

In interviews on Wednesday with the Cape Argus, first at his home and then on the telephone - during which he broke down and wept - he also alluded to a conspiracy to eliminate him as the Democratic Alliance's candidate for mayor of the post-election Cape Town unicity.

However, he said he did not want to publicly criticise his former party's leadership.

When the Cape Argus asked Bantom about the list of top 10 porn websites he had allegedly visited in October last year, he denied that he had ever downloaded images of child porn.

Among the web pages is one containing stories of incest.

The investigation report on the former mayor's visits to the sites alleges that he spent hours downloading the porn web pages last October. It also contains copies of emails in which credit-card payments to subscribe were confirmed.

One such confirmation of payment reads: "Dear William, thank you for your credit card payment. Enjoy your viewing."

Responding to the internal CMC investigation docket's having been given to the media, Bantom said: "I don't know why they're doing this, they've got me where they want me. I am at home crying all day."

He said his family and close friends had also been severely traumatised by the scandal.

He denied he had again visited the pornographic Net sites after he was warned by the premier, Gerald Morkel, last year. This was confirmed by the investigation docket, which said the mayor had frequented the porn sites last October, but not thereafter.

Earlier on Wednesday, when a Cape Argus team visited Bantom's Strandfontein home, his wife Olga said her husband was not available for comment.

She was told the paper wanted his comment on African National Congress allegations that the revelation of the porn scandal had been a "well-timed move" by Morkel to boost his son Kent's chances of becoming Cape Town powerful new unicity mayor.

Kent Morkel is the chairperson of the CMC's executive committee.

Among the other ANC allegations was that Bantom had been the Democratic Alliance's first choice as unicity mayor if it won the upcoming local government elections in the province.

About two hours later, Bantom let us in. As we entered, he broke down, and with tears rolling down his cheeks, said he was barely coping under the emotional strain.

Later on Tuesday evening, after the list of websites he had allegedly visited was given to the Cape Argus, Bantom responded on the telephone by saying he could not understand why "they" were doing this to him.

He reiterated that he had not downloaded any child porn and had stopped visiting porn sites after he was warned last year.


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