Western Cape African National Congress (ANC) leader Marius Fransman’s return to politics hangs in the balance after cellphone messages surfaced that appear to contradict his claims that the sexual harassment case against him is part of a plotBut‚ in a statement on Tuesday night‚ Fransman’s lawyer said the politician was innocent‚ and said if a prosecution were to happen‚ it should be “sooner rather than later” in everyone’s interests.
Fransman was asked to quit as provincial leader after allegations were made that he sexually harassed Louisa Wynand‚ 21‚ a Stellenbosch woman to whom he was said to have promised a job.
A case of sexual harassment was opened in North West province‚ but last month the police told Wynand they would not charge Fransman‚ citing lack of evidence.
But Northern Cape police confirmed on Tuesday they had reopened the case and are examining WhatsApp correspondence between Wynand and Fransman.
Wynand confirmed the authenticity of the exchanges‚ published by the Daily Maverick‚ which suggest that Fransman pursued the 21-year-old‚ sending suggestive messages despite Wynand’s attempts to brush him off.
In one of the messages published by the Daily Maverick‚ Fransman told Wynand that it was “hot that side” and suggested that she wear “informal gear and sensual”.
He was also quoted as writing: “Forgot to ask. Pl don’t tell your bf you working fr me. Don’t need jealous guys around.”
In another message Fransman reportedly asks Wynand to send him a “selfie”.
Fransman is alleged to have sexually harassed Wynand in Kimberley when they were travelling to the ANC birthday celebration in North West.
The politician allegedly forced Wynand to share a bed with him and later fondled her.
Fransman’s lawyer‚ Mushtak Parker‚ said on Tuesday night: “We are still of the view that the decision taken by the director of public proescutions (in) North West Province not to prosecute our client‚ was correct and also believe that a similar decision would in due course be taken by the DPP Northern Cape
“Despite not wanting to comment on a process which is still pending in the office of the DPP Northern Cape‚ we find it perplexing that a different decision could be possible after the DPP North West Province had come to the decision not to prosecute‚ due to insufficient evidence‚ after having had multiple‚ lengthy consultations with the complainant.
“However‚ if the DPP Northern Cape does decide to prosecute Mr Fransman‚ it would be in the best interest of all concerned‚ and in particular our client‚ that the prosecution happens sooner rather than later‚ as Mr Fransman’s life (and obviously also that of the complainant) has also been very adversely affected by these events‚ and closure is as necessary for him as it is for the complainant.”
The ANC is saying nothing about its internal investigation into the allegations. Party spokesman Khusela Sangoni said the party would comment when the investigation ended.
“Insofar as the messages are concerned‚ the ANC respects the criminal justice system and the law enforcement agencies.
“We have noted the reinstatement of the charges … we wouldn’t want to pass judgment on issues that have not yet been tested in a court of law‚” said Sangoni.[Source: TMG Digital]