Sex pest Goniwe booted out of ANC

The ANC has expelled its parliamentary chief whip, Mbulelo Goniwe, from the party and banned him from its activities for three years.

Goniwe was accused of sexually harassing a 21-year-old administrative parliamentary assistant, who has now been named as Nomawele Njongo. He was alleged to have asked her to have sex with him after she had helped serve dinner to guests at his home on October 25.

When Njongo refused, he allegedly told her: ‘I thought you were a real Xhosa girl. How can you say ‘no’ to a chief whip as if I am an ordinary man?”

An ANC national disciplinary committee, presided over by senior party member Kader Asmal, assisted by Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu and senior MP Llewellyn Landers, found him guilty of two of three charges relating to the incident.
Asmal announced the verdict at a media conference in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The committee found that Goniwe had indeed made sexual overtures to Njongo in his house in the Cape Town suburb of Acacia Park. It said the overtures were ‘of a specific nature” and that Goniwe was, therefore, guilty of abuse of office as ANC chief whip and had behaved in a ‘dishonourable way”.

‘Such conduct is unbecoming of a member of the ANC in the light of its history of opposition to any form of abuse of women and its historic campaign for equality,” the committee’s statement said.

According to Asmal, Goniwe gave evidence himself, as well as calling two witnesses in his defence. Both were employees of the ANC’s parliamentary office. Their evidence had been ‘contradictory, inconsistent and, therefore, unreliable”.

The committee accepted Njongo’s account of the incident as credible.

Asmal said it had been a ‘painful” decision for the committee, as Goniwe had played an important role within the ANC both in his home province of the Eastern Cape and nationally.

The committee decided to strip Goniwe of his ANC membership with immediate effect. The decision means that he is also removed from Parliament and loses his chief whip’s job. He is forbidden to stand for public office or be a public representative of the ANC for three years.

He will be able to reapply for his membership if his behaviour during the three-year period is acceptable.

In relation to attempts by other ANC members to persuade Njongo not to pursue her harassment complaint, Asmal said the committee had warned ANC members to refrain from such behaviour. But he added that the committee’s mandate did not extend to this matter.

It was alleged that close to 20 people phoned the woman in attempts to persuade her to change her mind.

Rapule Tabane

Rapule Tabane

Rapule Tabane is the Mail & Guardian's politics editor. He sometimes worries that he is a sports fanatic, but is in fact just crazy about Orlando Pirates. While he used to love reading only fiction, he is now gradually starting to enjoy political biographies. He was a big fan of Barack Obama, but now accepts that even he is only mortal.
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