ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman yesterday claimed to be a victim of a conspiracy as he again dismissed accusations of sexual assault against him.
The ANC provincial chairperson allegedly offered a 20-year-old woman a job as his personal assistant – and then allegedly told her to “overcome” her feelings of discomfort at his sexual advances if she wanted to “make a success out of her career”.
At a press conference yesterday, Fransman indicated that he believed that there was a conspiracy against him: “I have no illusions that there is more than the eye can see on this matter. In fact, my suspicion is that as this one fails, there will be another one.
“My view is that it was a multipronged attack, with the major attack point being the court of public opinion. That is so because you have heard up to now one story, nothing else.
“As a leader, I have tried to stay disciplined in not breaking my silence on this particular matter,” he said.
“There is no question to me what is behind this. There is more than the eye can see. As the days have unravelled, we now know – and I can confidently say I do believe I know – what is actually behind it … and it does speak to particular individuals, and that will come out as time goes on.”
Fransman, however, declined to name the people he said were behind the “plot”. He said he had been cooperating with the police and had “nothing to hide”.
“The bottom line is that the detail will come out,” he said.
He spoke of a conspiracy involving the timing of the news, which he said broke “as the whole country assembled at the civic centre in Rustenburg to cut the cake on January 8”.
“That’s important – the timing is important – without getting into detail,” he said.
The ANC Western Cape provincial executive committee (PEC) held a special meeting in Grabouw on Friday, where the allegations against Fransman were discussed. It decided to refer the matter to the ANC’s integrity commission for investigation.
“The PEC determined that this particular matter would not derail its efforts in ensuring that this ANC acts as an effective opposition in the Western Cape and adequately prepares the organisation for the upcoming local government elections,” said acting provincial secretary Thandi Manikivana.
Western Cape ANC spokesperson Jabu Mfusi told City Press on Friday that the PEC meeting became heated when the Fransman matter came up, with many differing views.
Deputy provincial chairperson Khaya Magaxa added that they felt that the police’s investigation into Fransman was being prolonged and he hadn’t been formally charged.
“The more they stretch that process ... it is not only hurting the two people – the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator – it is also an albatross on us as the ANC. That’s why we have called for the police to speed up that process,” he said.
Magaxa added that the matter was being sent to the ANC’s integrity commission because the body could investigate any ANC member.
Magaxa said the PEC could not “just charge a person willy-nilly without having a complaint”.
“Even the police have not charged anyone. Therefore, under those circumstances, there is no way that we can start taking any action. That’s why we referred it to people who can find out to what extent perhaps the matter might affect the integrity of the organisation.”
Magaxa also rejected the allegation that the complainant was Fransman’s personal assistant, saying the ANC had not advertised such a post and all such jobs were occupied.
“If there was a promise of a job somewhere, it is not within the movement. Maybe it’s in his house or his spaza shop – wherever – but here we don’t have that thing,” he added.