DA charges EC leader in sex scandal

DA leader in Bhisho Edmund van Vuuren is being charged by his party on three counts, including sexual harassment of a number of party members or staff.

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

The DA’s chief whip in the Bhisho legislature, Edmund van Vuuren, is facing possible disciplinary action after the party brought three charges against him Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

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

The investigators were sent by the party’s federal legal commission.

The following day the team went to Port Elizabeth to complete their investigation, and it is believed this is where the team interviewed alleged victims and witnesses.

The investigators finished their investigation at the weekend and e-mailed its recommendations to Selfe yesterday morning for him to draft the charges and 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 yesterday confirmed to the Daily Dispatch they would serve the Port Elizabeth-born Van Vuuren with the charges and he would be summoned to a formal disciplinary process before the end of this week.

DA’s James Selfe

“There was a preliminary investigation which has suggested that there is enough evidence to institute a disciplinary process,” said Selfe.

The Dispatch reported on the scandal two weeks ago after a 25-year-old DA employee alleged she had officially filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Van Vuuren.

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 were interviewed.

He said the party intended to deal rapidly with the issue.

“The suggestions by the preliminary investigation would then have to be tested and would need to be proven subject to cross-examinations and interviews of witnesses.

“If he would be found guilty actions would be taken against him,” Selfe said.

Van Vuuren has been on sick leave 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 female caucus members asking for support with the complaint.

The e-mail stated that the matter had been reported to a member of the caucus who tried to deter the complainant “from taking further action”.

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

 

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