Dire message in giving haven to sex predators

Seeing as we are going through the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, it might be time for the minister of foreign affairs to apologise to women everywhere.

Seeing as we are going through the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, it might be time for the minister of foreign affairs to apologise to women everywhere.

You will remember that three years ago Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma inexplicably overturned a guilty verdict against Norman Mashabane, the former ambassador who was found guilty on 22 charges of sexual harassment by the ministry's own tribunal.

On Friday the Pretoria high court found Mashabane guilty of sexual harassment.

This put Dlamini-Zuma in the spotlight. Why did she take such a decision in the face of such overwhelming evidence?

Another person who might have to do some very quick explaining is Sello Moloto, the Limpopo premier.

Despite knowing that the sexual harassment judgment was pending, he hired Mashabane as a political adviser.

It makes you wonder what our politicians are smoking when they make appointments.

Mashabane was found guilty on 22 charges at an initial hearing in 2001.

The charges included stroking the buttocks of an employee, molesting a staff member in a lift and making suggestive motions with his tongue to another.

The foreign affairs tribunal recommended that the sex pest be fired, but he appealed and was allowed to continue in his post pending the outcome.

In June 2003 another charge was laid against him, and he was again found guilty.

Interestingly, Dlamini-Zuma, a so-called gender activist, upheld Mashabane's appeal and tried to deflect attention from the man's wrongdoing by suggesting that he was being dragged through the mud for exposing motor vehicle fraud at the embassy.

Even if Mashabane had indeed found wrongdoing at the embassy, the fact was that there was so much evidence of the man's deeds that this did not count at all.

Why should Dlamini-Zuma apologise to all the women of South Africa?

Well, we live in a country where 52 000 women are raped every year. Hundreds of thousands are beaten up by their husbands and partners. Women are more likely to be affected by HIV-Aids simply because their partners are promiscuous.

Worse still, Mashabane was our representative in Indonesia. He was supposed to uphold the very best of our constitution and our people.

Yet he went to Indonesia to fondle Indonesian women and ask for sex from his underlings. It is a disgrace and an insult to women everywhere.

It is even worse that he was molly-coddled by Dlamini-Zuma. What kind of example is she setting? Is it now a free-for-all in her ministry?

The Limpopo premier's decision to give Mashabane a job as an adviser is even worse.

It adds salt to the terrible, open sore that Dlamini-Zuma had already trampled on.

Is there any way to make things better?

Dlamini-Zuma should just say sorry. Moloto should fire the sex pest. That is it.

But you know what? They won't do it.

So I leave them with this question: what if it was your sister? What if Mashabane had fondled your daughter?

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