Allegations of sexual harassment between top officials of the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have surfaced in the Gauteng legislature, fuelling the long-standing political animosity between the two parties.
This after EFF provincial acting chairperson Mandisa Mashego accused an ANC member of the legislature, Mbongeni Radebe, of sexually harassing her in the House. She laid a charge of sexual harassment against him at the Johannesburg central police station last week.
Radebe is also the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in the legislature. Mashego yesterday told The Citizen the incident happened on Wednesday “in front of many people”. She declined to provide full details as it was under police investigation, but described it as traumatic experience.
“It was very traumatic to endure abuse at the hands of a man, especially that man who is in a position of power,” said Mashego. “I am not an object for somebody’s entertainment. It was degrading to experience what that man did to me as a woman. He is going to answer before the judge and I cannot subject him to a kangaroo court.
“This matter has badly affected me in my duties and gave me determination to fight for other abused women. No man will bully me. I will fight.”
Radebe yesterday would neither admit nor deny the allegations but only said: “I will comment after seeing the story (in The Citizen).” Mashego insisted her decision to press a criminal charge against Radebe was not inspired by a political feud between the EFF and the ANC, but a need to seek justice.
Condemning the alleged incident, EFF provincial spokesperson Ntobeng Ntobeng called on all women in Gauteng who were sexually harassed to open cases against the suspects.
He said the EFF has also reported the matter to the legislature’s integrity commissioner, Ralph Mgijima, who could not be reached for comment. ANC chief whip in the legislature Brian Hlongwa said: “I am not aware of the matter and I will have to check and speak to Mbongeni (Radebe) himself.”
Gauteng provincial spokesperson Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng confirmed that a high-profile case of sexual harassment was opened and being investigated. – firstname.lastname@example.org