Zululand mayor denies sexual abuse allegations

Zululand District Municipality mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi has denied sexual allegations against him. Photo: Supplied

Zululand District Municipality mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi has denied sexual allegations against him. Photo: Supplied

Published Aug 29, 2023


Durban — Zululand District Municipality mayor, Thulasizwe Buthelezi has accused the ANC and the NFP members of plotting to tarnish his name by spreading allegations that he was sexually abusing women employees in the municipality.

This is after the ANC in KZN issued a statement calling for action against him.

The mayor accused ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo of being behind the plot working with NFP councillors.

Buthelezi told the Daily News on Monday that he has been subjected to a malicious smear campaign since November 2017 when he became the mayor of Zululand.

He challenged those making allegations against him to report him to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and to law enforcement agencies.

In a long carefully penned letter supposedly by the victim where she copied many people including government departments and unions, she accused the mayor and senior managers of sexually harassing women employees.

The letter is not signed and has no sender’s details.

It partly says: “Greetings to you leaders during this “Women’s Month”. I am a young lady employed by the Zululand District Municipality and I am writing this letter out of desperation, distress and despondency. I find myself in a difficult position where I am forced to sleep with the mayor against my will in order to keep my work.

“I find myself having sex with him because he wields MASSIVE power (he usually tells me that he will crush my career) and abuses his power over me and other ladies that I would prefer not to name because of the sensitivity of this issue.”

She added that the Zululand District Municipality has been turned into an institution where ladies have to perform sexual favours to the Mayor for employment and promotions. She said if they failed to accede to the Mayor’s sexual desires they were ill-treated and told that they will be destroyed professionally.

“Sadly we have seen many females and males’ lives being turned into living hell by the Mayor aided by the senior managers,” further read the letter.

The victim further stated that there is a high rate of resignation especially from women because the mayor has changed “our institution” into his private brothel.

She added that senior managers who are supposed to protect employees were part of “our” harassment.

“They (senior managers) are the ones suspending, demoting, displacing and even expelling employees. She said most of the recent employment and promotions are as a result of bedroom encounters.”

She added that a quick audit of these appointments and promotions will indicate that the appointed ladies do not have the necessary skills nor possess appropriate educational qualifications for the posts they occupy.

“What is even very painful and disheartening is that there is a female that is old enough to be our mother who is supposed to protect us but she is involved in this sordid experience. I personally know of a number of females (married and unmarried) who have had to stoop to this lowest inhumane level to be bought houses and cars by the mayor, secure their employment that are being slowly eaten by regret and depression, myself included.”

“This ‘Women’s Month’ I plead with you on behalf of myself and many other victims to conduct an independent investigation to probe the role and the conduct of the mayor and seniors managers with regards to the sexual abuse of women and compliance with legislations insofar as issues of labour relations is concerned.

“I am certain that many of us will participate in such a probe if confidentiality is ascertained and it be handled independently. Furthermore, I urge you to provide free psychotherapy to us,” concluded the letter.

In a statement, the ANC in the province called on Buthelezi to clear his name. On the provincial secretary’s involvement, the ANC said he has nothing to do with it.

NFP leader Canaan Mdletshe challenged the mayor to prove his claims against NFP councillors.

IFP’s comment will be added once received.

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