Emfuleni mayor put on leave over lewd photo

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and the suspended mayor of Emfuleni, Simon Mofokeng.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and the suspended mayor of Emfuleni, Simon Mofokeng.

ANC politicians on the WhatsApp group where the semi-nude picture of a 14-year-old girl was posted by Emfuleni mayor Simon Mofokeng have expressed differing views on sexual grooming allegations.

On Monday, the ANC in Gauteng announced that it had placed the controversial mayor on special leave after allegations of sexual grooming of a minor surfaced.

"A decision was taken that mayor Mofokeng should be placed on special leave pending investigation of the allegations by relevant law enforcement agencies," read a statement by Gauteng provincial secretary Hope Papo.

This is not the first time Mofokeng has faced controversy. In 2014 he was filmed drunk and unable to walk in the Vaal, south of Johannesburg.

The family of the 14-year-old girl, who is Mofokeng's alleged victim, have now alleged that the teenager's life may be in danger after she had apparently been threatened. She has allegedly become suicidal.

Yesterday, senior ANC members who formed part of the WhatsApp group known as the Festival of Ideas, where the teen's picture was apparently mistakenly posted by Mofokeng, gave different views on the scandal.

Cabinet Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who is part of the group, refused to comment.

"I don't want to say anything about this to the media. I don't discuss ANC matters in the media. I will rather keep quiet," Mokonyane said.

Another member of the WhatsApp group and ANC Youth League president, Collen Maine, said Mofokeng's alleged actions were irresponsible and in bad taste.

"If I had it my way, I was going to remove Mofokeng because he is a mayor and a regional chairperson," he said.

ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza said the WhatsApp group was initially created by the party for a trip to Russia.

"I've since deleted the group because it served its purpose." Attempts to reach Mofokeng were unsuccessful.

DA MPL Kingsol Chabalala, who blew the whistle, said the ANC's decision to put Mofokeng on leave was a slap in the face of victims of sexual abuse.

Yesterday, the teen's relative said the girl had been left scared and traumatised.

Mofokeng is expected to appear in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court on Friday after the family of the girl applied for a protection order against him after he allegedly threatened the minor.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said no case was being investigated but this might change if police were asked to investigate.

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