FRANSMAN AC­CUSER LASHES THE NPA

Louisa Wy­nand has re­vealed her iden­tity and is tak­ing on West­ern Cape ANC leader Mar­ius Fransman in a bid to shine the spot­light on sex­ual ha­rass­ment

CityPress - - Front Page - BIÉNNE HUISMAN bi­enne.huisman@city­press.co.za

Louisa Wy­nand, the young woman who laid sex­ual as­sault charges against West­ern Cape ANC leader Mar­ius Fransman in Jan­uary, is pre­par­ing her­self for an­other fight. This time, it’s against the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) af­ter it dropped her case, cit­ing a “lack of ev­i­dence”.

Wy­nand says po­lice sent her a What­sApp mes­sage last Thurs­day in­form­ing her that the di­rec­tor of pub­lic prose­cu­tions would drop the mat­ter.

This week, Wy­nand’s at­tor­ney, Cariem Ja­cobs, told City Press: “The first thing we need to do is tackle the NPA. We want to know ex­actly what hap­pened, and why the case was with­drawn. There is plenty of ev­i­dence, so we want to clar­ify this so-called lack of ev­i­dence.”

Wy­nand (21), who ma­tric­u­lated from Stel­len­bosch High School in 2013, laid a com­plaint against Fransman on Jan­uary 6 af­ter a road trip from Cape Town to Rusten­burg to at­tend the ANC’s 104th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions.

Dur­ing the drive, he al­legedly touched her breasts and later forced her to share a bed with him.

This week, Wy­nand – who de­scribes her­self as “a loner and a wall­flower, who likes to read, sing and an­noy her three brothers” – de­cided to re­veal her iden­tity in a bid to draw at­ten­tion to her case, and to shine the spot­light on sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“This mat­ter re­ally put my life in a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. At this stage, my num­ber one goal is women’s rights,” she said this week.

Speak­ing to City Press from her brother’s house in Pniel out­side Stel­len­bosch, Wy­nand said the in­ci­dent shat­tered her life. Apart from the fact that she now con­stantly looks over her shoul­der, she can’t find a wait­ress­ing job be­cause the winelands hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor is over­flow­ing with gos­sip.

“My life has changed; ev­ery­thing has changed. I went into hid­ing af­ter all this. But I’ve de­cided to open up now. How can they say I won’t have my day in court? And ever since I put my name out there, help and sup­port is stream­ing in.”

Wy­nand dis­missed the al­le­ga­tion Fransman made ear­lier this year that her claims were part of a po­lit­i­cal “con­spir­acy” against him.

Wy­nand said she had no idea who Fransman was when they met at an up-mar­ket Stel­len­bosch wine es­tate where she worked as a host­ess late last year.

“I’m not into pol­i­tics. I’ve never even regis­tered to vote. Even­tu­ally, I googled him,” she said.

“A con­spir­acy? That’s just so in­cred­i­ble and ab­so­lutely not true. How can I engi­neer a plot against him when he was the one who ap­proached me? At [the wine es­tate], we worked 15-hour shifts; there wasn’t time for plot­ting. I don’t even know politi­cians. I know Nel­son Man­dela, Des­mond Tutu and Martin Luther King, but that’s all.”

Wy­nand says Fransman of­fered her a job in “pub­lic re­la­tions and hos­pi­tal­ity” in early Jan­uary, which she ac­cepted.

On Jan­uary 4, they hit the road to Rusten­burg in a bur­gundy Jaguar with two of Fransman’s friends.

“I was newly out of school and saw this as a chance to build my ca­reer. As a young per­son, you don’t ques­tion your boss. I mean, this was my first as­sign­ment for him. He said I was needed to do cer­tain things in Rusten­burg and that he would ex­plain to me ex­actly what dur­ing the drive up there.

“When we left Cape Town, ev­ery­thing was pro­fes­sional. I even took sticky notes with me for my tasks. It was my first day and I wanted to make a good im­pres­sion.”

Wy­nand did not want to di­vulge all the de­tails of her case, but City Press has seen the docket de­tail­ing her ac­count.

It reads: “On Tues­day, Jan­uary 5, at about 2.19am, they ar­rived at the Flamingo Ho­tel in Kim­ber­ley, whereby she was forced to share the bed with the sus­pect and he would wrap his arms over her and rubbed him­self against her, touch­ing her breasts.

“She told him that she does not feel com­fort­able and he said it would be her chal­lenge to over­come if she wanted to make a suc­cess out of her ca­reer, and needed to be clin­i­cal and cold about it. They then pro­ceeded to Rusten­burg.”

Wy­nand told City Press of her fear when they ar­rived at Sun City, where the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee had gath­ered ahead of cel­e­bra­tions at the Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium in Rusten­burg.

“I was all alone. I didn’t know any­one at the congress. I tried to stay calm un­til I could go to se­cu­rity guards at Sun City. They called the po­lice. It was a whole process with many de­lays, then fi­nally po­lice of­fi­cers fetched me and took me to the po­lice sta­tion out­side Sun City. They weren’t be­ing help­ful and were like: ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’

“Fransman’s peo­ple came to look for me at the sta­tion, so I was try­ing to hide in a back room...”

Af­ter de­liv­er­ing her state­ment at the po­lice sta­tion, Wy­nand con­tacted her par­ents – Andy, a busi­ness­man, and Alba, a re­cep­tion­ist – who bought her a plane ticket home to Cape Town.

Po­lice of­fi­cers trans­ported her from Sun City to OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

“My mother reared me to be very in­de­pen­dent. But still, I was so scared, think­ing what if I get kid­napped,” she re­called, fight­ing back tears.

Wy­nand, one of four sib­lings, grew up in Bel­lville. Her ma­tric sub­jects in­cluded ap­plied com­puter tech­nol­ogy, his­tory, bi­ol­ogy, math­e­mat­ics, Afrikaans and English. At school, she was known for her beau­ti­ful singing voice, and she played net­ball and par­tic­i­pated in ath­let­ics.

She as­cribes her ten­dency to be a loner to “al­ways be­ing dif­fer­ent”, be­cause her mother is white and her fa­ther is coloured.

Wy­nand was forced to stop her stud­ies in lan­guage and cul­ture at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity for fi­nan­cial rea­sons. She started wait­ress­ing at var­i­ous up-mar­ket wine es­tates to make some money to re­sume her stud­ies.

In a state­ment re­leased on Mon­day, she said: “I, to­gether with my le­gal team, am con­fi­dent that I gave the po­lice enough ev­i­dence re­lat­ing to the charges I brought against Mar­ius Fransman. I am con­fused as to why they say there is not enough ev­i­dence.”

PHOTO: JACO MARAIS

DE­FI­ANT Louisa Wy­nand has come out to face the world af­ter the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity de­cided not to charge West­ern Cape ANC leader Mar­ius Fransman with sex­ual as­sault. Wy­nand opened a case against Fransman af­ter he al­legedly touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately in the back of his ve­hi­cle and forced her to share a bed with him on a trip to Kim­ber­ley in Jan­uary. They were head­ing to Sun City, where the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee had gath­ered

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