DA MPL in harassment claims

Edmund van Vuuren
File picture: Brian Witbooi

DA MPL Edmund van Vuuren is being charged by his party on three counts of sexually harassing an undisclosed number of party members or staff.

The DA’s federal executive head, James Selfe, drafted Van Vuuren’s three charges yesterday which would be served on him in the next three days.

This follows a visit by a threemember team of investigators last week who grilled him and other witnesses at the Bhisho legislature.

The following day the team went to piece missing links together in Port Elizabeth, where other alleged victims and witnesses were interviewed.

The investigators finished their investigation over the weekend and e-mailed recommendations to Selfe yesterday morning for him to draft the charges and to present them to the federal executive. The three charges are:

  • Intimidation or sexual harassment of party members;
  • Deliberate acts which have a negative impact on the image of the party; and
  • Bringing the party into disrepute.

Selfe confirmed yesterday that they would serve Port Elizabeth-born Van Vuuren with the three charges and that he would be summonsed to a formal disciplinary process before the end of this week .

Contacted for comment yesterday, Van Vuuren would only say: “I have nothing to say on the matter. These are allegations that the party is investigating. This story hurts me.”

Selfe said Van Vuuren and a Bhisho staffer had been interviewed.

“The suggestions by the preliminary investigation would have to tested and would need to be proven subject to cross examinations and interviews of witnesses,” Selfe said.

“If he is found guilty, action will be taken against him.”

Van Vuuren has been off sick for two weeks, but Selfe said the charge sheet would be delivered to Van Vuuren wherever he was.

Some members of the DA caucus staff wrote to the women caucus members, asking for support with the complaint.

The e-mail stated the matter had been reported previously to a member of the caucus.

After the e-mail was sent by staff, DA caucus leader Bobby Stevenson sent a memo notifying staff of the complaint and instructing members to not influence any staff member to ensure that the case was handled properly.

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