Former SA ambassador to Indonesia dies

Former ambassador to Indonesia Norman Mashabane (51) has been killed in a car accident outside Polokwane, police confirmed on Thursday.

Inspector Lesiba Ramoshaba said a 20-year-old man, believed to be Mashabane’s son, also perished in the accident.

“They had been travelling south towards Polokwane, between 7pm and 8pm on Wednesday night, when their car collided head-on with a truck.

“Both of them died instantly,” Ramoshaba said.

Mashabane was recalled from Indonesia after sexual-harassment charges were laid against him. For a short period last year, Mashabane acted as adviser to Premier Sello Moloto.

He lost his post as the South African ambassador to Indonesia when he was found guilty by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2001 of 21 sexual-harassment charges against Lara Swart, his colleague, who was 21 at the time.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reinstated him pending the outcome of an appeal.

In June 2003, another charge was laid against him and he was found guilty.
Dlamini-Zuma upheld his appeal.

In December last year, Dlamini-Zuma’s decision was challenged in the Pretoria High Court and overturned.

The court ruled in favour of Swart and ordered Dlamini-Zuma to foot the bill for Swart’s legal costs, which were estimated to be as high as R500 000.

Mashabane then resigned as adviser to Moloto.

Swart was one of several complainants against Mashabane. They were stationed together in Indonesia where Mashabane was South Africa’s ambassador.

He was found guilty at an initial hearing in 2001 on a battery of charges that included stroking the buttocks of an employee, molesting a staff member in a lift and making suggestive motions with his tongue to another.

In June 2003 another charge was laid against him, and he was again found guilty.

In March 2007, headlines read “Sex Pest Back in Office”, when he was appointed as a member of the Limpopo provincial legislature.

The Commission on Gender Equality described his appointment as a case of “justice delayed is justice denied”.—Sapa

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