EXCLUSIVE: Senzo Mchunu in sexual harassment rap
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Durban - ANC NEC member and Department of Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu is allegedly embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, dating back to 2019.
In a letter obtained by the Daily News, addressed to the ANC general manager, as well as the Women’s League general secretary, a female employee at Luthuli House detailed how Mchunu allegedly made sexual advances that she rejected – after which she lost her job as an employee under him, as political head of organising at the time.
Mchunu’s spokesperson Kamogelo Mogotsi said: “The allegations levelled against Comrade Mchunu were formally communicated to him in 2019. He was afforded an opportunity to respond to the allegations, which he did. Following that, a formal investigation was carried out, the findings of which were communicated to the complainant and comrade Mchunu. The matter was thereafter closed.”
The Daily News sent questions to the ANC’s spokesperson Pule Mabe and head of communications Cornelius Monama but they had not responded to questions by the time of publication.
The woman alleged that Mchunu told her that he no longer wished to work with her, this had been after the general elections in May 2019.
She accused Mchunu of gender abuse for firing her verbally at a meeting with human resources, where one of the basis of her dismissal included an awkward texting message to Mchunu.
She alleged that it had been in response to romantic advances he had made on her in 2018, where he allegedly kissed the woman on the lips, touched her brassiere and breasts.
“He also asked me out to the movies and to go dancing, which I declined”.
She explained how she was head hunted by Mchunu in 2018 to assist him at Luthuli House, as he had not been able to find the right person after six interviews with applicants and was frustrated by the person who was working for him at that time.
And while this was a lower level job than the one the victim had previously held within the structures of government, she alleged that Mchunu had said he would negotiate her salary with the party’s human resources department.
With the upcoming general elections back then, Mchunu had discussed how he would take the woman with him as he expected to be appointed as a Cabinet minister.
In the letter, she said, at the time, her complaints fell on deaf ears at Luthuli House and added that she had been failed by women political leaders.
“Women employees who complain in the media get better results on their complaints for sexual harassment versus women employees who follow due process (like myself).
This is evidenced by their complaints being attended to by the leadership and by the financial settlements they receive”.
The ANC Women’s League on was sent questions on Thursday regarding the woman’s letter and its content, however, it had not responded by time of publication.
Spokesperson for the Commission on Gender Quality Javu Baloyi said although he was not directly commenting on the matter, he said sexual harassment was a problem in the country.
Baloyi said many people in the country chose not to report the issue and that it was hard to prove it. He said this was why there were so few cases reported.
Political analyst professor Boitumelo Senokoane said any allegation of sexual harassment should be treated with seriousness.
“The issue of sexual exchange for work and work performance should never be allowed,” he said.
Senokoane said if there was any truth to the allegations, then Mchunu should be removed from his position.
This story has been updated to include the full letter of complaint. The name of the victim has been deleted.