The DA MP who was found guilty of sexual harassment by his party will not appeal his sanction and will remain an MP.
While some female DA MPs were cautious to say whether the punishment for Archibald Figlan was enough, the DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe defended the punishment.
Figlan, who was accused earlier this year of sexual harassment over an incident during a protest against President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, responded that he had accepted the federal council’s decision.
The complainant said, when questioned by Die Burger, that she was glad Figlan was found guilty, but had mixed feelings about the punishment. She was still deciding what she would do.
According to Selfe, the substantive punishment Figlan faced was to lose his membership, however that was suspended, subject to certain conditions, including a donation of R12 000 to the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders (Nicro).
Figlan could pay it off at R1 000 a month.
‘This is a man who has shown severe remorse’
When Selfe was asked whether the punishment was sufficient and whether the party was sending the right message, he said: “This is a man who has shown severe remorse. This is an exceptional case in an otherwise flawless 12-year long political career.”
He said the panel balanced justice and the possibility of rehabilitation in their finding. He also said that people who were now dissatisfied, were not on the panel.
“Given the nature of the offence, we are sending an important message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and it has consequences.”
He said the membership could still be cancelled, and there was even public humiliation connected to the matter, but there would be people who would still insist on castration.
Selfe conceded a new policy on sexual harassment wss something that the party had to consider.
Some female DA MPs who spoke to Die Burger said they were satisfied if the complainant was satisfied, but if that was not the case, the issue would be taken further.
Other female DA MPs said they were glad he was punished.
Part of Figlan’s punishment was that for the next five years he could not be considered for any position within the party.
Figlan will also have to do a monthly two-hour community service, for a year, for Nicro.
The third requirement was a letter in Figlan’s own handwriting in which he asked the complainant for forgiveness.
During the protest Figlan put the complainant’s hand on his private parts and said “picket here”. News24