Sexual harassment: Staff at Tshwane House shed light on relationship between Solly Msimanga, accuser
Pretoria - Senior staff members at Tshwane House yesterday shed some light on the working relationship between former mayor Solly Msimanga and the party official who has accused him of sexual harassment.
On Monday, the woman opened a case with the SAPS against Msimanga - now DA caucus leader in the province and interim Gauteng leader - ditching her earlier attempt to resolve the case using internal party mechanisms, as reported in the Pretoria News yesterday.
The case with the DA had been opened on October 3 this year. It is alleged that the sexual harassment occurred seven years ago.
At the weekend, she claimed that despite the case not yet being heard, DA Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty had implied that she only opened it to spite Msimanga as she was undergoing a disciplinary inquiry herself.
In response, she said: “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.”
At Tshwane House yesterday, where both the complainant and Msimanga served after the DA won control of the metro in 2016, their former colleagues said she was the then mayor’s protector-in-chief. “We suspect they fell out after the appointment of Marietha Aucamp as chief of staff in the mayor’s office,” a senior official said. “After this, she was part of a group of seven or so DA caucus members that were opposed to Msimanga and formed a coalition against him.
“In the main, they were unhappy about the alleged appointment of whites by Msimanga and felt that there were better qualified blacks. They then leaked the information about the now infamous appointment of unqualified senior managers.” According to another source at Tshwane House, between 2016 to mid-2018, the complainant was the mayor’s “self-appointed cheerleader”.
“How could this have been if he sexually abused her years earlier? She is alleged to be having an infant child with a married man who was also part of the executive.”
Another source who worked closely with the complainant revealed that she was found guilty by the DA federal legal commission for leaking information to a rival political party in council. “She appealed the decision but apparently failed and she faces expulsion,” she said.
“Who’s now going to expel her? Solly Msimanga in his capacity as acting DA provincial leader?"
A DA official told Pretoria News the complainant reported the alleged sexual assault to the party three weeks ago.
Last week, Msimanga opened a case of crimen injuria against her.
“After she learnt of his move, she announced that she was withdrawing her party complaint and would approach the SAPS. Sexual abuse is a crime why didn’t she report it to the police? Instead, she posted a report to the party? Conty Rakhogo Lebepe posted on Facebook yesterday: “Yes, I’m out of politics, but this woman should be taken on or else we men shall be destroyed unfairly. While I was in the DA, I defended and supported Pule Mabe of the ANC against orchestrated rape claims and indeed it was found out that the woman wanted to destroy his political career, hence Mabe was cleared and reinstated as party’s spokesperson after suspension.”
Lebepe claimed the complainant was caught leaking information from the Tshwane caucus to another party and Msimanga laid charges against her internally. She was dismissed. She appealed her dismissal and was unsuccessful.
“Yes, I am against gender-based violence and anything against women and children,” Lebepe wrote.
“Msimanga should know that this kind of nonsense against him is cooked in the bedroom; he should stand firm and responsible; this kind of fight belongs to all men of integrity, not him alone. I know him personally and the gentleman can’t even kill a fly; this is politically motivated and Msimanga should open a case of defamation.”
Msimanga said the allegations were malicious. He claimed he and the accuser were on good terms until he had to take her to task over misconduct that allegedly happened in 2018.
“This is surprising coming from a person who in 2018 called me her man crush and once invited me to her birthday as a guest speaker,” Msimanga said, adding he was committed to undergoing a lie-detector test and make the results public.