Sex-grooming scandal mayor speaks out about claims

Suspended Emfuleni mayor Simon Mofokeng is facing a huge storm as new allegations emerge.
Suspended Emfuleni mayor Simon Mofokeng is facing a huge storm as new allegations emerge.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Emfuleni mayor Simon Mofokeng has spoken out in light of new revelations of a suicide note left by his nephew, who took his life following revelations of the mayor's alleged sexual grooming incident with a 14-year-old girl.

The cryptic note left by his 15-year-old nephew, who hung himself at Mofokeng's house, is now at the centre of explosive allegations that the boy had discovered the semi- nude pictures of his friend, whom Mofokeng now stands accused of sexually grooming.

A police source told Sowetan that Mofokeng's nephew's note read: "I am sorry for being a bad person. I will not be a problem to the family anymore. I am sorry I took the phone."

The note was found on September 2 after the teenager was found hanging in Mofokeng's garage.

Mofokeng, who has been placed on special leave by the ANC, is at the centre of a storm after he allegedly posted semi-nude pictures of the 14- year-old girl on a WhatsApp group, whose members included cabinet ministers.

Yesterday, Mofokeng rubbished claims his nephew committed suicide as a result of his alleged sexual grooming revelations.

He said the family was still trying to grasp the reasons behind the suicide as the note was vague.

"We cannot speculate about the letter because we don't know what it was about. None of those things in the note mean anything to us. This issue about moshemane oo (the nephew) is extending my family's pain," Mofokeng said.

He refused to talk about the sexual grooming allegations, saying they were being investigated by police and the Gauteng provincial government.

 His nephew's friends and schoolmates told Sowetan yesterday the boy was left dejected after finding out about his uncle's alleged messages.

The girl attends the same school as his nephew.

The pupils claimed the boy had behaved strangely before his death and was suspended from school and was sent for counselling.

"He wasn't well ... he seemed to have lost his will to live and told me that he felt betrayed and for being in trouble with his family as well," he said.

 Police spokeswoman Sergeant Gertrude Makhale confirmed an inquest had been opened.

She said the postmortem results had been finalised, but were yet to be released as police were still waiting for statements to be concluded for investigation purposes.

Makhale said Mofokeng was served with a restraining order for apparently harassing the 14-year-old girl and that he would be appearing in the Vanderbijlpark Park Magistrate's Court tomorrow.

The girl's family told Sowetan she had been threatened following the death of Mofokeng's nephew.

One of the girl's uncles said he had seen messages Mofokeng allegedly sent to his niece in which he made advances to bed the girl.

"In the messages he said he wanted to sleep with her and she refused," said the uncle.

The uncle said he could not elaborate further on the messages because the girl's phone was taken by police for investigation.

ANC Gauteng head of communications Nkenke Kekana said the party has not launched an investigation into the matter. "We have taken a political decision to allow comrade Mofokeng to deal with the matter without compromising government. We hope that state agencies and experts will guide us," Kekana said.

MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe said: "We must root out the hypocrisy of condemning blessers, while it continues to be practised". - Additional reporting by Ngwako Modjadji

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