In June 2016 Daily Maverick forwarded to the NPA a series of WhatsApps former ANC Western Cape Chairperson Marius Fransman had sent to his then 20-year-old employee, Louisa Wynand, shortly before a trip to the ANC’s 108th celebrations in Rustenberg. The trip turned into a nightmare for the young woman.
On Sunday 9 December 2018 the NPA informed Marius Fransman, who was suspended from the ANC for five years in 2016, that it would be charging him for sexual assault and crimen injuria which allegedly occurred en route to the ANC’s 108th celebrations in Rustenberg in January 2016.
The decision to prosecute the controversial leader has taken two years. In May 2016 the NPA announced that it would not be prosecuting Fransman “due to a lack of evidence”.
A month later, on 13 June 2016, Daily Maverick sent to the DPP of the Northern Cape a string of WhatsApps Fransman had sent to his accuser before their departure by road from Cape Town to Rustenberg. Fransman was travelling with two companions, Donovan Cloete and Majiet Mogamat, as well as Wynand, in a Jaguar.
The WhatsApp messages sketch portrait of a manipulative and inappropriately flirtatious communication between a married middle-aged politician and his newly appointed young employee.
Daily Maverick made the decision to forward the WhatsApps to the Northern Cape Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions as no one had bothered to contact Wynand to include these in the investigation.
The case involving this high-profile member of the ANC and staunch Zuma supporter initially bounced between provinces while Fransman denied the charges, claiming that Wynand was a “honey trap” who had been sent by rival factions in the ANC to destroy his political career. It is expected that this will form part of his attempt to defend himself.
On 9 December 2018 the NPA’s Phaladi Shuping, regional spokesperson for the Free State DPP, confirmed that “the NPA in the Northern Cape has taken a decision to prosecute the former Western Cape Leader Marius Fransman for alleged sexual assault and crimen injuria that was reported to the police by the then 21-year-old complainant in January 2016. Fransman was informed of the NPA’s decision to prosecute him.”
Shuping said that several “preliminary processes were then engaged with a view of centralisation of the charges in the Northern Cape, since the alleged incidents took place in the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and the North West”.
Wynand has remained out of the public eye since she first lodged the charges against Fransman. She testified at the ANC’s Integrity Commission.
In November 2016, the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee found Fransman guilty on two counts of misconduct. These related to “abusing his office for the purpose of attempting to obtain a sexual favour from Louisa Wynand, and for making public statements which brought the ANC into disrepute” (the ANC).
“The NDC found both charges to be very serious and suspended his ANC membership for 5 years.”
Fransman did not attend his disciplinary hearing and “showed no remorse for his misconduct”. The ANC said that as a provincial leader Fransman should have known about the oppression of women and “the strides being made by ANC to accord women their rights”.
Fransman, said the ANC, “showed no political understanding of one of the fundamental objectives of the ANC… the support for and advancement of women’s emancipation”.
Fransman was on a working trip in politically shattered Venezuela when he was informed of the decision by the NPA to charge him.
Earlier he had posted on Facebook that he had met with the president of the National Bank of Venezuela “to appreciate the economic challenges since the draconian economic blockade against them. We heard how there is a very focused strategy from Western financial institutions trying to cripple their trade and in that way force regime change.”
Later he shared that after attending a church service, “I was so humbled when the children came in and started to sing about society and importance to be respectful and fighting for a better society.”
Wynand, through her spokesperson Gavin Prins, has welcomed the decision to prosecute Fransman.
“Louisa is relieved that the NPA decided to prosecute. She has always had faith in the NPA and will continue to support the police with their investigation. Hopefully, this case can be finalised soon so that she can continue with her life. More information regarding the next steps have not yet been made available but she had full confidence in the NPA,” said Prins.
Fransman, in a media statement, said that while he had been informed that the NPA was proceeding with the matter “the full details of the charge is unclear, considering the decision of the authorities in the North West Province 2 years ago not to prosecute. I will be engaging my lawyers to better understand the decision of the DPP in Kimberley.” DM
Read here a full account of Wynand’s ordeal as set out in her original complaint.
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