Agency boss facing sexploitation claim

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A popular Johannesburg acting agency boss is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal involving a young actress at his acting and presenting agency.

The agency owner, who cannot be named due to the nature of the case, was scheduled to appear in the Randburg Magistrate's Court last month after a 20-year-old woman laid a sexual harassment charge against him.

The popular agency, which is based in Randburg, runs acting, television and radio presenting courses.

The agency has an impressive list of alumni on its website, including actors, TV presenters and media personalities.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokeswoman Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that the matter still under investigation.

"The matter was not placed on the roll pending further investigations," she said.

Sowetan understands that a case against the owner, who is not a South African citizen, was opened at the Randburg police station by the student.

An employee at the agency alleged that it was not the first time the owner was accused of sexual harassment.

"A lot of young girls come here and want to be stars.

"Some don't have the required registration fee to join the agency, so he lets them complete the course and promises them heaven and earth in exchange for whatever he wants from them," the employee said.

The student, who is originally from Mpumalanga, declined to comment.

It is not yet clear what the nature of the sexual harassment is.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, the owner said his accuser was being used by former employees to bring down his agency.

"There is a lady who used to work under me. After her resignation, she took me to the CCMA and then started to threaten me, saying she is going to use the victim to get back to me," he said.

He said on the day the sexual harassment allegedly took place, he had received a call from his accuser asking him to help her find accommodation in Johannesburg.

He drove around with her in Kwa-Lichaba in Soweto and then drove to a friend's place in Randburg, where he left her and went home for a birthday dinner with his family.

"I left her there and said 'listen, there is a birthday thing that we are doing at home with my wife and kids'. she [the accuser] kept calling me.

"I called her back and asked if she was fine she said yes, she was sleeping, so I figured she was sorted," he says.

The owner said he had not been officially charged, but was certain there was no basis for his accuser's claims.

"They are claiming it's sexual harassment from where I said it's my birthday. I said go ahead and open a sexual harassment case. Me saying it's my birthday is sexual harassment?"