DA caucus members, councillors victimised over sex abuse claim
Johannesburg - A DA leader in Gauteng is accused of sexually harassing two councillors and intimidating one of them by hijacking her car while party leaders threatened other councillors into not revealing the first complaint in 2017.
Suspended DA Ekurhuleni councillor Thina Bambeni made the claims in an affidavit filed earlier this month at the South Gauteng High Court, where she wants the official opposition’s decision to suspend her twice - on March 20 and April 1 this year - declared unlawful.
Bambeni told the court that when she lodged a sexual harassment complaint against DA Ekurhuleni caucus chairperson Shadow Shabangu last July, another DA councillor, Lebo Makhathini, told her she had also been sexually harassed by the man in 2017.
“She said she had been threatened by the caucus leaders never to speak about him (Shabangu) or reveal his identity as some of us had caught wind of the fact that Makhathini had lodged a complaint of sexual harassment,” Bambeni’s affidavit says.
“We, too, as the remaining members of the caucus, were threatened en masse by the caucus leaders to never mention Makhathini’s sexual harassment complaint.”
Bambeni further claims Makhathini informed her that Community Policing Forum members where she lives had told her that the car hijacking she had experienced after “reporting Shabangu had, in fact, been orchestrated by him to intimidate her”.
“She (Makhathini) then informed me that she had good reason to believe that Shabangu was also behind two attacks that had occurred on her at her home, where at about 7 or 8am thugs scaled the perimeter wall of her residence.
“On one occasion they smashed the rear windscreen of her car and on a second occasion they had slashed the back tyres of her car.”
On Saturday, Makhathini declined to comment.
The sexual harassment allegations Bambeni made to the DA leadership include that Shabangu, a married man, declaring his “feelings” for her, telling her “he has a right yokushela (to propose)” and demanding her hotel room number during a strategic planning session.
Bambeni has asked the High Court to issue directives and place the disciplinary inquiry concerning the complaint of sexual harassment she lodged last July under its supervision.
Alternatively, she wants the court to direct that the disciplinary inquiry be conducted by the court.
Bambeni also seeks an order declaring that the DA’s Gauteng disciplinary committee chaired by Mervyn Cirota, the party’s spokesperson on human settlements in the province, failed to apply its mind correctly in determining the outcome of her complaint between last July and October.
She complained about being unfairly, unjustly and unlawfully removed from the DA’s list of candidates to Parliament for the May 8 elections after being allegedly “red-flagged” for complaining about sexual harassment.
Shabangu and DA Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey did not respond to requests for comment yesterday on whether Bambeni’s application would be opposed.