DA fires MPL who accused Solly Msimanga of sexual assault
PRETORIA – The DA on Friday announced that it has terminated the membership of Nkele Molapo, a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (MPL) who this week opened a sexual harassment case against Gauteng DA interim leader and former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga.
Molapo this week issued a media statement, alleging that she was abandoning the internal processes she had initiated within the DA for the sexual assault allegation.
At the time, the DA had issued a statement saying the timing of Molapo reporting the sexual harassment was questionable, and furthermore, she was undergoing a “serious disciplinary hearing” for leaking DA political strategy in Tshwane to the Julius Malema-led EFF.
On Friday, DA Gauteng provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty announced that the opposition party had sacked Molapo.
“Today the Democratic Alliance membership of a confirmed leaker of confidential information and strategy has been terminated, after a three-year-long legal process finding her guilty, and an appeal confirming her guilt,” said Moriarty.
“Ms Nkele Molapo’s guilt has been tried by a fair process of the DA federal legal commission, and after she appealed, her guilt was confirmed by an appeal panel of the federal legal commission.
“The sanction imposed upon Ms Molapo is the immediate termination of her party membership, against which there are now no possible further internal appeals.”
Moriarty said this brings to a close a three-year process to seek accountability for acts Molapo committed in 2017, leaking confidential information from the DA Tshwane government to “our opponents”, the Economic Freedom Fighters.
“At the time, with evidence of this leaking presented to then mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, a case against Ms Molapo was opened by Msimanga with the DA federal legal commission.
“Today, Solly Msimanga is vindicated for doing what was right at the time, in taking action against a DA colleague,” said Moriarty.
He added that the ruling of the appeal panel comes at a time when Molapo has publicly levelled “suspiciously timed” allegations against Msimanga.
“Mr Msimanga outrightly denies these allegations, and sees it as an effort by Ms Molapo to smear his name in pre-emption of today’s serious finding against her, and the termination of her DA membership.
“It is sadly becoming an all-too-frequent practice for those found guilty in internal DA disciplinary processes to rapidly turn on the party to create counter-allegations to muddy the waters of their guilt,” said Moriarty.
“It is a practice we strongly denounce, and we continue to appeal to those found guilty to accept their outcomes without seeking to damage the party in retribution.”
On Tuesday, civil rights movement #NotInMyName lambasted the DA’s handling of the sexual assault claims against Msimanga. The movement called on Msimanga to step aside while law-enforcement agencies investigated the case.
“It is a pity and a shame how the DA has handled this issue. Instead of being objective and clear, not taking sides with the alleged perpetrator, the DA has acted otherwise,” said #NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango.
“We are saying if Solly is interested in clearing his name and making sure that this cloud is not hanging over his head, he should step aside until such time this case has been properly ventilated.
“(Msimanga) should not put his political aspirations ahead of his name and justice. Moreover, if the crime said to have happened is proven, then he must go.”
In her media statement, Molapo said the DA was “casting aspersions” by questioning the timing of her complaint, which she was "ready and willing to defend”.
“The DA went further and announced, using official party communications machinery, that the accused opened a crimen injuria case. The least I expected was for my party to remain neutral and subject both myself and the accused to a thorough and unbiased hearing. I now doubt the fairness of the hearing, with good reason,” she said.
“It is important to note that throughout the week, I remained disciplined and resisted the urge to throw cheap jabs on social media. I even declined to comment when journalists called me for comments. I wanted to afford the party the opportunity to deal with this matter, without external pressure.”