One of the former principals accused of sexual abuse as named by a woman in a viral video has denied the allegations against him. In a letter sent by his attorneys, the Bo Kaap resident denies having been party to any unlawful conduct. He says he has never been confronted with any allegation of this nature by a family member or any other person at any point prior to the allegations this week.
“The allegation by the complainant is wild, unsubstantiated and untrue and my client vehemently denies that he was party to any such reprehensible behavior. The allegations are not made against my client directly, in any event, and should any allegations be made against him personally, my client is more than willing to face up to such allegations in a court of law,” said attorney Teboho Sebogodi.
He said his client is more than willing to face up to such allegations in a court of law. Should such a charge be laid against him, he would “welcome a prosecution to clear his name.” He has requested that the media retract the allegations.
The statement goes onto to say that “he has been a lifelong advocate for the rights of women and children and he strongly and unreservedly condemns gender-based violence and sexual abuse of any form.”
In the wake of the statement, the pressure is mounting for the wheels of justice to be set in motion. An enquiry has subsequently been opened by the police to investigate the allegations, which was also levelled at his brother. Bo Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association chairperson Osman Shabodien said the objective is to get other possible victims to come forward. Residents in Bo-Kaap believe the alleged perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.
“The law must take its course. We are happy that the police have decided to launch an enquiry,” he said.
On Thursday evening, more than 150 people stood in solidarity with the victim, urging more victims of sexual violence to break their silence. Emotions were high as angry and distressed residents moved their picket on the corner of Wale Street through the streets of the community. Irate Bo Kaap residents marched to the home of one of the alleged perpetrators, holding placards in the street.
At the picket, elderly women were tearful, with many saying they are struggling to comprehend what has happened. Many expressed their shock and indignation, as the brothers are known to be highly regarded and upstanding members of the community.
The picket was attended by many young men, some of whom led the protest. The overwhelming call by community activists was that families affected by sexual abuse or any form of gender-based violence should “not sweep it under the carpet. Reporting sexual violence is key to breaking the cycle.
By Friday afternoon, members of the extended Emeran family weighed into allegations of sexual abuse, saying they strongly condemn gender-based violence or any type of sexual or other assault. In a statement issued to VOC News, the family said recent allegations against two of senior relatives have been extremely distressing and shocking and have saddened the family.
“We too welcome answers and trust that the various necessary processes will run their course. We acknowledge the distress experienced by our relative who has posted a video clip. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and all parties concerned and affected. We wish everyone well on the equally difficult road ahead. We are a very large family and we appreciate the concern, guidance and prayers of our friends, colleagues and our community as we process everything. May Allah guide us all,” the statement concluded.