South Africa: NPA Withdraws Sexual Assault Charges Against Marius Fransman

18 September 2019

The National Prosecuting Authority says it has withdrawn sexual assault charges against former Western Cape ANC chairperson Marius Fransman.

NPA national spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said on Wednesday that there had been informal mediation between the parties.

She said the prosecutor was satisfied that the complainant was in full agreement on withdrawing the matter and the charges of sexual assault and crimen injuria.

Had there been a serious sexual offence charge with an attached minimum sentence, such as rape, the matter would never have been considered for withdrawal, she added.

In December 2018, regional NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said they had decided to prosecute Fransman on two charges of crimen injuria and sexual assault.

The complainant, Louisa Wynand, had asked the police to investigate a case of sexual assault in January 2016 while the ANC was holding birthday celebrations in the North West.

The NPA had been in contact with its provincial branches to centralise the case, as some of the incidents had allegedly also taken place in the Western Cape, Shuping said.

Following the incident in 2016, the ANC's National Disciplinary Committee eventually announced that it had found Fransman guilty on two counts of misconduct after a protracted disciplinary process, which had also gone to court.

Fransman had denied the accusations.

Wynand's spokesperson Gavin Wildschutt-Prins said that he could confirm the matter between his client and Fransman was before the courts on Wednesday.

"However, I am not in a position to comment on today's proceedings. I humbly ask that the privacy of my client be respected," he said.

The ANC suspended Fransman's membership for five years.

Interim provincial committee convener Lerumo Kaloko said in a statement on Wednesday that they did not know the details, terms and conditions of the withdrawal, except that it was between Fransman and Wynand.

"It would not be prudent for us to make authoritative remarks at this stage, understanding that cases that are withdrawn by the NPA, and not out of a court process, always have a potential of being reinstated," said Kaloko.

The ANC said that Fransman's suspension was based on this case.

It said Fransman had the right to apply for a withdrawal of the suspension of his membership and reapply to the relevant structures of the organisation.

At the time, Wynand said she was glad that the ANC process had been finalised.

"I am especially relieved for my family who has been my constant pillar and support structure throughout this time," she told News24.

"This is one small step on our road to victory. No woman in this country should go through the abuse I suffered. I am still picking up the pieces, but I am stronger, now more than ever."

The embattled leader said at the time what was happening to him was becoming a joke.

"If it wasn't serious, I would have thought it was an [April Fools'] joke," he said, calling the whole disciplinary hearing a kangaroo court.

Source: News24

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