Tshwane acting city manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng confirms sexual harassment claims are being probed
Pretoria - The City of Tshwane yesterday confirmed it had received two complaints of sexual harassment against one of its senior officials.
City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said: “The acting city manager (Mmaseabata Mutlaneng) confirms that she has received the complaints and will investigate the matter internally. The City will not comment in the media space about the merits of the case.”
Earlier in the day, it had emerged that the staff member who has filed a sexual harassment charge against the head of department – as reported in the Pretoria News yesterday – was not the only one to dish up the dirt on the senior official.
The first woman had filed a complaint against her boss, adding she feared reporting for duty because of his conduct.
The victim said she had been subjected to an act by the accused that reduced her dignity and what she stood for as a married woman, mother and colleague to her peers. She described the act as unwanted and offensive.
She said in her complaint to the City: “The first instance was during a marathon last year when he said 'hey beautiful, look how sexy you are’.
“I responded by saying ’please stop it, you are my boss, that is how I view you and nothing else’.”
The woman claimed it did not stop there. “On March 12, 2020, he again repeated his ways and said ‘hey sexy, what are you eating?’ ”
Mutlaneng responded to the accusations in correspondence indicating that the matter would be probed within the legal prescripts and feedback provided afterwards.
The victim has also since opened a crimen injuria case with the Pretoria Central SAPS.
Yesterday, however, it emerged that another employee previously reported that she had been sexually harassed by the same official. She claimed nothing was done and she was subsequently suspended. The victim said she had reported the sexual harassment to a union representative and the human resources department, but was advised that she should not report it.
“However, I am continually victimised, threatened and intimidated.”
She said the accused had, since February 2018, continually called her to meet him in his office very early in the morning, and in those meetings he would make comments about her body and that she was beautiful.
“He made comments that I have a beautiful and flexible body. He had this uncomfortable stare and look on his face. Every now and then I would find him looking at me.”
She said she initially did not take the advances seriously and thought he would stop, but he would call her to his office often and make remarks about her body and that he “needed” her.
“Many times he would call me and say ’my lady’ and say ’you know I need you; I will take care of you’. It was very uncomfortable; he would check me out … looking at me from top to bottom.
“He took it personally and started to ill-treat and threaten me. I am of the view that all these cases against me arose as I kept refusing sexual favours.”
She also alleged that another official would accuse her of sleeping with men in the office and tried to set up traps for her to fail at work on different occasions. He excluded her from some staff meetings and would constantly insult her.
She said that following her complaint, the incidents of harassment, victimisations, threats and insults got worse.
“I have been reading and learning about sexual harassment and I am still surprised why the union representative and human resources officer discouraged me from registering a case.”
She said she too also decided to lodge a complaint “to stop this man from harassing me any further or other women in future”.
Meanwhile, the ANC Tshwane women’s caucus said last night it planned to picket today outside Tshwane House in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations.