Politics

DA drama: Fired after alleged sexual harassment scandal, leaking of info to EFF

PRETORIA, South Africa – They say a week is a long time in politics. In a week of high drama, DA MPL Nkele Molapo has been fired by the party over misconduct charges relating to information leaked to the EFF.

At the start of the week, the DA was rocked by a scandal after allegations emerged of sexual harassment against its senior provincial leader in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga.

Msimanga’s accuser, Molapo, had spoken out publicly and in a dramatic turn of events on Friday, the DA announced that she had been fired.

DA provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty stated earlier this week that a complaint had been lodged with the party over the incident, which had allegedly taken place seven years ago. Molapo has since corrected this to say the incident took place six years ago.

According to Moriarty, the timing of her harassment complaint raised questions about the veracity of her complaint, while Msimanga himself had also laid a crimen injuria charge against Molapo.

But on Friday, Moriarty said Molapo had been found guilty by the Federal Legal Commission. Her appeal wasn’t successful.

Moriarty said the disciplinary hearing had been running since 2017.

“It is sadly becoming an all too frequent practice for those found guilty in internal DA disciplinary processes to rapidly turn on the party to create counter-allegations to muddy the waters of their guilt.

’’It is a practice we strongly denounce and we continue to appeal to those found guilty to accept their outcomes without seeking to damage the party in retribution,” said Moriarty.

The DA’s questioning of the truthfulness of Molapo’s accusations against Msimanga was slammed by the ANC caucus in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature as a ’’condemnable misogynistic and uncaring attitude towards women’’.

Molapo has since withdrawn her complaint and instead laid charges against Msimanga with the SAPS.

She added that despite having previously expressed her confidence in the DA’s internal processes, that confidence had since ceased.

Molapo lamented earlier this week that the least she had expected was for her party to remain neutral and subject both herself and Msimanga to a thorough and unbiased hearing.

She said the party publicly questioning the authenticity of her rape charge against one of its senior leaders had now seen her harbouring doubts about the fairness of the hearing, adding that this was with good reason.

“It is important to note that throughout the week, I remained disciplined and resisted the urge to throw cheap jabs on social media.

“I even declined to comment when journalists called me. I wanted to afford the party the opportunity to deal with this matter without external pressure,” Molapo said.

The DA has charged Molapo with leaking confidential party information to the EFF in 2018.

“What should be noted here is that even when Julius Malema denied ever receiving the screenshot from me in a November 2018 Sowetan article, the party still went ahead and charged me. This, I believe, was because they believe they have a strong case against me.

“I subjected myself to all internal processes and remained disciplined throughout the two years in which this case has been ongoing.

’’I had my last appeal on the 4th September 2020. My counsel and I were promised an outcome on the 18th September 2020. Three weeks later, we are yet to receive an outcome. We are ready and prepared either way,” Molapo said.

She also indicated she had penned a letter to the speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature expressing her discomfort in attending house sittings with Msimanga in case they had to attend meetingsin person.

In response to Molapo’s accusations, Msimanga said he and Molapo had been on good terms and their relationship soured when he had to enforce disciplinary measures against her for misconduct.

Msimanga also added that he had been surprised by the accusations as Molapo had referred to him as her “man crush” in 2018, while she had also extended an invitation to him to be the guest speaker at her birthday party.

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