The prominent KwaZulu-Natal district mayor accused of turning women staff members into sex slaves to keep their jobs, has finally broken his silence amid calls for his head.
Zululand Mayor, Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi says the latest allegations against him are a smear campaign that started in 2017 when he took over as the mayor.
He broke his silence on Tuesday, almost a week after a damning email accusing him of sexual harassment, emerged.
The email was purportedly written by a woman employee of the district municipality and it was sent to various government departments, including social development, cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), the presidency and municipal labour unions like Imatu and Samwu.
The alleged victim was requesting for help to be freed from the alleged sexual jaws of Buthelezi.
“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 abuse his power over me and other ladies that I would prefer not to name because of the sensitivity of this issue,” the employee alleged in the email.
The employee further alleged that the Zululand District Municipality has been turned into an institution where female employees have to perform sexual favours for the mayor to keep their jobs and be promoted.
“If we fail to accede to the Mayor’s satanic sexual desires we are ill-treated, told that we will be destroyed professionally.
“Sadly we have seen many females and males’ lives being turned into living hell by the Mayor aided by the Deputy General Manager (of) Corporate Services and the Municipal Manager," she alleged.
Furthermore, she said no one is safe, as even relatives of the Zulu royalty had been treated like her, and the widow of a late ANC leader was expelled for refusing to accede to a demand for sexual favours.
“Sadly we have seen even the grandchild of the late His Majesty The King Zwelithini being subjected to this inhumane treatment wherein she was expelled summarily because she had refused to sleep with the Mayor.
“Furthermore the wife of the late regional leader of the ANC suffered the same harassment and was subsequently fired,” she wrote.
But Buthelezi denies all these, saying he is a victim of a smear campaign involving a broad collection of forces opposed to him.
“I have been the subject of malicious smear campaigns since November 2017 when I became Mayor of Zululand.
“I encourage all those who have grievances to approach Cogta and the law enforcement agencies,” Buthelezi said.
He added that his character is known to many and he would be happy to have the matter investigated and put to bed once and for all.
“People who know me and those who work with me know what kind of person I am.
“This is a smear campaign being peddled by the ANC provincial secretary and NFP councillors in Zululand.
“I would welcome any investigation into the said allegations,” he added.