Freda Adams tells court she cried after ugly insult

Former Western Cape MEC Freda Adams told the Cape High Court on Wednesday that she broke down in tears after Peter Marais told he she was ”not a woman”.

Adams is suing Marais, a one-time premier of the province, for sexual harassment and defamation.

She was cross-examined on Wednesday about a confrontation between her and Marais in September 2000, at a New National Party meeting in Cape Town’s Salt River.

She said Marais told her during a discussion in a side room, in front of a handful of other senior figures in the NNP, that she was ”not a woman”. and that ”If I looked like you I would run away and hide”.

She said the outburst came after she challenged Marais on his statement that white women should not be treated as affirmative action candidates on NNP election lists.

Under questioning by Marais’s advocate Anwar Albertus, she admitted she replied: ”And you, see what you look like,” but denied she had used the word ”Sies”.

Adams said she excused herself from the room, and went outside to cry. Several people followed her to ask why she was in tears.

”I cried a lot,” she said. She denied that she had still been grief stricken over the death of her father the day before. She said when other party members challenged Marais about the incident, he told them it was personal and not a party matter.

Adams said Marais made the remarks aggressively and loudly ”as he always does. Mr Marais never talks in a soft voice, but on this occasion he shouted at me”.

She also said Marais believed he was untouchable in party structures ”and he was indeed untouchable”, she said. – Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
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