Phillip Dexter and Marius Fransman File picture: David Ritchie/Independent Media

Cape Town - ANC heavyweight and strategist Phillip Dexter has vehemently denied allegations by party members in the Western Cape that he and others were behind the sexual harassment charges laid against provincial chairman Marius Fransman.

North West police are investigating a charge that Fransman allegedly sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman who travelled with him to Rustenburg for ANC birthday celebrations earlier this month.

Several Fransman loyalists within the ANC have since accused Dexter of helping to set a “honeytrap” for the provincial leader.

Dexter confirmed on Tuesday that he had complained to the ANC about false allegations being levelled against him.

He said while he did attend the party’s birthday bash in Rustenberg, he only heard about the case after the fact.

Read: Fransman tells of dirty politics

Fransman, meanwhile, has criticised Dexter for going public on Facebook without approaching him directly about the “honeytrap” allegations.

Dexter said he had received numerous calls from party members accusing him and others within the provincial party ranks of being behind the harassment allegations.

“It has been brought to my attention by a number of members of the ANC and by members of the press that Mr Fransman is alleging that I, together with others, arranged a so-called ‘honey trap’ for him by getting a woman to somehow or other falsely accuse him of sexual harassment.

“This is a ridiculous, desperate and frankly speaking, an insulting allegation, to myself, but more importantly to the complainant in this case,” he said.

Dexter added that he did not know the complainant and did not hear about the case against Fransman until early on the morning of Saturday, January 9, 2016, way after the alleged incident.

“For the record, I believe that anyone accused is innocent unless proven guilty, Mr Fransman included. However, the utterances by Mr Fransman on this allegation do neither himself nor the complainant any service,” Dexter said.

He added that Fransman should reserve comment until the matter was concluded. “Unfortunately, these wild and baseless allegations by Fransman are characteristic of him and do the ANC no service either”.

Dexter said he would await the outcome of the party’s investigation into Fransman’s conduct.

Read: I didn’t pay bribe – Fransman

Fransman described the Facebook post by Dexter about the honeytrap allegations as reckless, irresponsible and fuelling an already tense situation. He urged Dexter to withdraw his remarks and accusations.

“Dexter claims that I’ve accused him of being behind this case. This allegation is a completely new revelation. I am not sure why he is accusing me, since I’ve never mentioned his name as being party to this saga. In fact it is news to me. I am hearing this for the first time through a Facebook statement.” Fransman said he too was going to take matters further in light of Dexter’s accusations.

“This matter is becoming much more interesting,” Fransman added.

Dexter’s Facebook post outlining the claims made against him sparked another round of heated discussions about the charges against Fransman.

Read: Fransman refutes sex harassment claims

Comments and post included: “Fransman must hang his head in shame for responding as he does,”; “Fransman hasn’t denied the allegations. He’s been talking a lot of conspiracy theories.”; “I suppose Phillip also got the young woman a job and a lift from Fransman”.

Fransman’s supporters criticised Dexter’s claims saying it was all part of a smear campaign.

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Cape Argus