South African National Parks (SANParks) chief executive officer Fundisile Mketeni has expressed disappointment at sexual assault allegations levelled against him, with his legal team now pursuing extortion charges against the complainant.
Last month, Mketeni took special leave following the allegations, laid against him by a 35-year-old woman employed at Shalati Lodge in Skukuza, Kruger National Park.
In a statement released by Mketeni’s legal team last week, Advocate Adriana Bevilacqua said police were currently investigating allegations against the woman “for allegedly targeting and blackmailing high-profile individuals in exchange for financial rewards”.
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The case against Mketeni was postponed on 2 June, with the magistrate saying all cases must be amalgamated.
Mketeni’s legal team said in the statement it was “unfortunate that such attempts to discredit his impeccable character has surfaced at this particular time, when he is tirelessly working to implement transformation in the environmental sector”.
Lawyers also said Mketeni was “disheartened” at the complainant’s “level of dishonesty”, and that he “cannot comprehend why she would have targeted him in the manner in which she did.”
Mketeni being a father to three teenage daughters added to him being “saddened by the spurious and perfidious allegations”.
City Press reported in May that the woman who accused Mketeni of sexual assault feared for her life, and was afraid to return to work.
Three other individuals were accused alongside Mketeni, two of which are also employed by SANParks. They have since been released on bail.
The woman told the publication the fellow SANParks employees assisted Mketeni in assaulting her when she rejected his sexual advances.
The case is expected to be heard in Skukuza on 23 June.