Fransman to face charges for 'bringing ANC into disrepute'

29 July 2016 - 10:48 By Tmg Digital And Philani Nombembe

Disciplinary charges are being drawn up against embattled ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman after an internal investigation unanimously found that he had brought the party into disrepute and tarnished its image.

Sexual harassment allegations made by a 21-year-old woman against Fransman are “more likely to be true‚ than not”‚ says the ANC Integrity Commission’s report into his conduct.

The Mail & Guardian has revealed the contents of the report‚ which was submitted to the High Court in Cape Town after he challenged the party to produce the document.

Fransman took ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe‚ and the deputy chairman of its integrity committee‚ Frene Ginwala‚ to court to compel them to release the report.

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The findings come at a delicate time for the ANC - on the eve of the local government elections and shortly after Fransman made a public appearance and was warmly greeted by President Jacob Zuma on the campaign trail in Cape Town.

The report said that “the integrity commission unanimously finds that the actions and behaviour of comrade Marius Fransman in this matter have brought the ANC into disrepute and have tarnished its image”.

The ANC’s attorney‚ Mfana Gwala‚ told the Mail & Guardian that “disciplinary charges are being drawn up as we speak”.

Fransman‚ who stepped aside from his duties as provincial chairman due to the scandal‚ planned to return to court on Friday seeking an order confirming his position as provincial party leader.

But ANC lawyer Mfana Gwala said on Friday that Fransman had withdrawn this application. The ANC‚ he said‚ had always maintained that the court action brought by Fransman was unnecessary.

It is unclear if the hearing will go ahead as planned.

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Louisa Wynand‚ the young woman hired as Fransman’s personal assistant to accompany him to the ANC’s birthday celebrations in the North West earlier this year told the Sunday Times that her life was in tatters after he allegedly forced her to share a hotel bed with him and touched her inappropriately.

After reporting the matter to the police‚ she had dyed her hair‚ changed her cellphone numbers‚ moved out of home and cancelled her 21st birthday party.

The integrity commission report recorded her testimony in which she said that Fransman wanted to hold her hand and touch her inappropriately.

“When he tried to hold her she allegedly said no and he asked her whether she would always be uncooperative if she worked with him‚” said the report.

At the Diamond Road Lodge in Kimberley‚ en-route to the birthday event‚ she said that he “kept pulling her closer and touched her breasts”. She stayed awake the entire night to prevent anything further happening.

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Fransman told the integrity commission that the whole saga was a plot to oust him by a faction in the ANC called Unity in Diversity funded by Cheslyn Mostert and included party heavyweight Tony Yengeni.

The report noted that a woman had sent affidavits to ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte‚ claiming that Fransman had done the same thing with a “number of women” but later retracted her affidavits and resigned from the ANC.

Fransman insists that he is entitled to campaign for the party ahead of the elections and said‚ in a statement earlier: “There is no confusion: I am the Western Cape ANC leader.”

Mantashe‚ however‚ said that he would first have to be subjected to the party’s internal disciplinary processes.

– TMG Digital/Sunday Times