The young woman at the centre of a sexual harassment complaint against ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman has slammed the North West police after she was informed via WhatsApp the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would not prosecute the politician.
When asked what “insufficient evidence” meant, North West police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi referred all queries to the NPA.
NPA North West spokesperson Frank Lesenyego confirmed the case against Fransman had been dropped, but would not give details about the investigation.
In January, Louisa Wynand, an aspirant singer from Stellenbosch, accompanied Fransman and three of his friends in a car to the ANC’s birthday celebrations in Rustenburg.
It was reported that she was allegedly “forced” to sleep next to Fransman in Kimberley while they were staying at a hotel, and he had allegedly touched her while two others were seated in the back of the vehicle. Once in Rustenburg, she complained to the police and a criminal investigation was opened against Fransman.
He was later asked to “step aside” from his position in the ANC while the party’s integrity committee considered the complaint against him.
Wynand’s publicist, Gavin Prins, said the investigating officer in the case had sent her a WhatsApp message on Thursday night, informing her the North West director of public prosecutions would not prosecute the case.
Fransman had previously denied he knew Wynand, but Prins in his statement said she had been employed by the ANC politician and had “resigned” after the incident.
“I am shocked and disappointed at the outcome. My life has changed so much because of this incident and it has affected not only me but my family and close friends.
“I, together with my legal team, am confident that I gave the police enough evidence relating to the charges I brought against Marius Fransman. I am confused as to why they say there is not enough evidence. But I will not take this lying down. I have met my legal team to discuss my options,” Wynand said in her statement.
She has relinquished her right to privacy, saying she wanted to go public to protect young women and children, and make them realise that “it can happen to anyone”.
“Our rights need to be protected. I am blessed to have incredible men around me, but there are monsters out there that are breaking down our women and children… If this is the universe using me to reach out to other victims of sexual assault, then so it shall be.”
She also criticised the police’s use of WhatsApp to communicate with her, saying they could have “at least sent me a letter”.
On social media, Fransman’s supporters celebrated the NPA’s decision, while others questioned why the police had informed Wynand via WhatsApp.
Fransman said he had noted the decision by the NPA and thanked his supporters, his family, the clergy who supported him “unconditionally”, the people of the Western Cape and South Africa, and “the Khoi and the San people”.
“I am consulting my lawyers on the statement that I’ve seen her (Wynand) make and I also will be in discussion with the religious community who stood by me over the next few days, and then I will formally convene a press conference on Wednesday,” said Fransman.
While he is essentially still suspended from the ANC, Fransman has spoken at several events, although not in an official capacity.
Asked on Monday whether the call for him to “step aside”, and the investigation by the ANC’s integrity committee was now essentially moot, Fransman said he could not yet return to his official duties.
“There’s a matter that needs to be resolved politically,” said Fransman.
He repeated claims that the sexual harassment case was part of a conspiracy by one faction of the ANC in the Western Cape to get rid of him.
“Boland secretary Jonton Snyman asked different people to write ‘manufactured affidavits’ against me. This is a convicted fraudster that has been reinstated (by the ANC).”
Snyman did not respond to calls and SMSes for comment.
ANC spokesperson Khusela Sangoni said the integrity committee would submit its report to the party’s top leadership once it had concluded its investigation into Fransman.[Source: Cape Times]