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Sex charges against Sol official

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“It is alleged that the official in question has been sexually assaulting and harassing workers and also abused his position to elicit sexual favours”

A COMPLAINT of sexual harassment as well as criminal charges have been laid against an official at the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

It is believed that the official allegedly tried to initiate sexual favours in return for a promise to renew the contract of a project worker.

The DA caucus leader at the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Christopher Phiri, yesterday called for the immediate suspension of the official.

“It is alleged that the official in question has been sexually assaulting and harassing workers and also abused his position to elicit sexual favours,” said Phiri.

He said that the DA was aware of at least five other complaints against the same official, although only one case had been formally opened so far.

“The DA wants an investigation into the ‘sex-for-jobs’ allegations at the Sol Plaatje Municipality. Given the seriousness of the charges, we also deem it appropriate that the implicated official be suspended, pending the finalisation of the criminal charges against him.

“We cannot tolerate a situation where women are allegedly being exploited because of their vulnerability and their desperation for jobs.”

Phiri encouraged municipal workers to report any incidents of a sexual nature or gender-based violence to the relevant authorities.

“The DA is aware that there are workers at the municipality who are not reporting similar incidents because of fear of further victimisation and of losing their monthly stipends.”

He added that the party would submit a proposal to ensure that Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) jobs are allocated in a fair manner.

The spokesperson for the municipality, Sello Matsie, yesterday confirmed that an employee had laid a complaint of sexual harassment with the section head against a junior official.

“An internal investigation has been launched into the allegations. We have also been made aware of a criminal investigation into the matter. We arranged for the complainant to be assisted by our employee wellness centre,” said Matsie.

He stated that the accused official would also be afforded an opportunity to present his case at the appropriate time.

“The municipality has no place for discrimination based on race and sex, nor will any of our employees be subjected to such treatment. Employment opportunities at the municipality are based on normal recruitment procedures and no one is permitted to seek any favours.”

Matsie encouraged employees to approach Lahlu Mabula at the Civic Centre’s gender office if they required assistance.

“We call on the criminal justice system to punish such perpetrators harshly if they are found guilty.”