The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality has noted the recent letter from the Mayor, Cllr Deon de Vos, about the outcomes of a sexual harassment case which will cost the Municipality R4 million.
This case relates to the sexual harassment of an employee of the former Ikwezi Municipality by a colleague – who is still employed as the Corporate Services Manager in the Dr Beyers Naude Municipality. The Ikwezi Municipality was amalgamated into the Dr Beyers Naude Municipality in 2016.
Despite the attempts of the Mayor to downplay the role of the current Municipality in this matter, they are as much at fault as the former Ikwezi Municipality. The Dr Beyers Naude Municipality inherited a legacy of poor governance and outstanding legal issues in 2016, most of which were detailed in the Kabuso Forensic Report on maladministration. This report was adopted by the new Council and became the responsibility of the new Municipality.
The sexual harassment matter formed part of that report and at that stage an award to the victim had already been made to the amount of R4 million. The current Municipality chose to defend the matter. They also refused to fire the perpetrator who continues in his position as Corporate Services Manager.
The Mayor maintained that they would not be able to reclaim any costs from him if he was no longer in the employ of the Municipality. Despite our requests, the Municipality continued to employ a person who had been found guilty of sexual harassment.
The victim of this sexual harassment was vilified and ultimately had to resign because of the trauma associated with seeing her attacker at work every day. This while the perpetrator remains in a position of authority over other women and is paid a substantial salary with benefits.
The DA will be asking questions in Council as to the legal costs, as well as what the Municipality intends doing to reclaim these costs. We will also request that the perpetrator be removed from his position.
The people of Dr Beyers Naude deserve better than a Municipality that protects the perpetrators of sexual misconduct.