'I am no sex pest'

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

Sam Rampedi yesterday told the Pretoria high court that he was concerned that the woman who has said he sexually harassed her, Thato Mocumie, made frequent visits to the mayor's office.

Rampedi was testifying in the civil claim in which Mocumie, 32, is seeking R780000 in damages from him for sexual harassment.

Mocumie claimed in court papers that Rampedi sexually harassed her on several occasions between August 2004 and April 2005.

"She started frequenting the executive mayor's [of Polokwane, Thabo Makunyane] office soon after her appointment, which I found inappropriate because administrative staff, except the municipal manager, are not supposed to liaise with the political head.

"I was especially concerned because the mayor sat on the panel which interviewed the plaintiff [Mocumie] for the position of assistant manager of communications," Rampedi said.

Rampedi's testimony was corroborated by the Polokwane municipality's former manager of strategic planning, Nape Nchabeleng.

He testified that he "found Mocumie's frequent visits to the mayor's office very unusual".

Rampedi, who now heads the Limpopo department of local government and housing, is adamant that Mocumie's intention was to tarnish his name by accusing him of sexual harassment.

Rampedi allegedly told Mocumie that "she belonged to him" and suggested that they have an affair though he is married and knew that she was engaged to be married.

Mocumie claimed that Rampedi accused her of poor work performance after she rejected his advances.