‘Relieved’ to hear from police on sexual assault allegation, Godongwana will continue to do his job

After receiving formal notice of a sexual assault allegation, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says he intends to continue to execute his duties “by focusing on the critical tasks of revitalising our economy and protecting the fiscus”.

In a statement released on Thursday night, Godongwana confirmed he had been approached by the South African Police Service earlier in the day about a criminal investigation against him.

The investigation relates to a sexual assault complaint laid against Godongwana in Skukuza, Mpumalanga, which he visited with his wife earlier this month. An employee at a lodge in the Kruger National Park alleged the minister had assaulted her while she was giving him a massage in his room.

In the statement, Godongwana reiterated that he “in no way or at any time inappropriately touched, sexually harassed or assaulted anyone”.

Earlier on Thursday, Godongwana told Business Day he would step aside, in line with ANC policy, if criminally charged. 

“I am relieved,” the minister said, “to have finally been contacted by the police and given the opportunity to hear what I am being accused of. 

“I am also glad to have the opportunity to place my denial on record. I take the allegations very seriously. As such, I am looking forward to the necessary legal processes unfolding. It is in the interests of all those involved for the matter to be resolved speedily, with due regard for the dignity and privacy of the complainant and myself.”

Godongwana denied the allegation that he had attempted to silence the complainant by bribing her. 

“As I informed the police, the identity of the complainant is unknown to me. These allegations are unfounded. In the interest of justice, I reiterate my wish that this matter be expedited,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that these allegations are being used as nothing more than a smear

against me, fashioned to achieve narrow and selfish political ends.”

The minister confirmed that he had appeared before the ANC’s integrity commission this week. The meeting, he said, was at his own request. 

“I did this because I am painfully aware of the damage that the allegations have caused to the organisation which I have served for close to four decades, as well as for the need to be forthright and transparent.”

The post ‘Relieved’ to hear from police on sexual assault allegation, Godongwana will continue to do his job appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

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