The Star Early Edition
Ferguson, lay charges
DANNY Jordaan, a powerful man in politics and sport, has been accused of rape by Jennifer Ferguson, who once served with him in Parliament as an ANC MP. South Africans have responded to the news with shock. The consensus seems to be that Jordaan is guilty.
He is not, of course. No charge has been laid against him.
It is nevertheless an intriguing case. The rape Ferguson accuses him of occurred 24 years ago. A number of issues in the matter need to be addressed.
The first is the fact that many people who have been raped choose not to report being violated because the law is heavily stacked against them. They become sitting targets in a court of law for clever lawyers – “rape experts” – who have been able to pick them apart on what we believe are spurious issues: “What type of clothes were you wearing?” “Were you drunk?” “Were you flirtatious?” “Were you asking for it?” This is a shame – and a disgrace. The dignity of rape accusers should be protected at all times. As things stand, a rape defendant, a powerful figure in society, stands an excellent chance of being found not guilty, especially if he is represented by a good lawyer.
We believe Jordaan did his cause no good by choosing to avoid the media and remain silent for a number of days.
And last week, when he finally decided to issue a statement, it was, quite frankly, bizarre. It was filled with the language of the powerful and full of references to himself as “Dr” Jordaan.
Honorary doctors seldom put these titles to everyday use.
Puzzling too is his contention that “in light of the scourge of gender-based violence in this country and Dr Jordaan’s sensitivity toward the issue he had to consider carefully his response, if any, in public to the allegations made by Ms Ferguson.”
Why did he not immediately say: “I didn’t rape Jennifer Ferguson”? He could have then issued a full statement as soon as possible afterwards.
We call on Ferguson to lay a charge of rape against Jordaan. We also call on our justice system to ensure that the charge is thoroughly investigated and Ferguson is treated with dignity.