Unsolicited Letter to Marius Llewellyn Fransman

Innocent until proven guilty – a legal fiction

‘Honey trap’ victim or not, here is what we now expect from you. Are you an ideal leader, Mr. Fransman?

In Brief

  • Fransman is accused of sexually harassing a 20-year-old woman who accompanied him, as his personal assistant, to ANC’s birthday celebrations
  • The chairman of ANC in Western Cape claims he was set up, but where is the proof?
  • Due to the burdened crime investigative system, the matter is unlikely to reach court in the near future
  • Until then, this writer has a request for Fransman: Be an ideal leader - vacate office pending party process and urge for quick justice process

Lately you have been linked to a claim of sexual harassment. A single version of what allegedly happened filled the airwaves and print pages. I know that the constitution of the republic deems you innocent until proven guilty. However, that would be in an ideal world – a world where crimes are committed and solved in forty-two minutes of a television episode of CSI. But in the real world where a single detective is handling hundreds of unrelated cases, we know that it takes longer to investigate crimes.

Take the case of Victim P who was assaulted by her stepfather for years. Even after being found guilty by the high court, the accused remained free for almost six years. 

I am urging you to be an ideal leader.

Let me for a moment assume that you are as innocent as you claim to be. For me, this assumption is on shaky ground, and I need your help to hold steady.

Mr. Fransman, when the claim first surfaced just days before your party, ANC, celebrated its 104th birthday, you were quoted ‘denying all claims’ and saying that you knew the complainant quite well. You also said that you knew the origin of the matter.

A few days later, Thuso Mkabile, the Western Cape provincial secretary of Umkhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association, was quoted saying; “We believe that this has been a calculated move because in the first place, it happens on the day that the ANC is celebrating 104 years of its existence.”

I hope you already appreciate my dilemma. Before I proceed, let me revisit the widely circulated statistics of victims of sexual crimes. According to American Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), approximately four-out-of-five (80%) of rapes (sexual crimes) are committed by someone known to the victim. So, confessing that you know the victim is not enough to clear your name.

On Mkabile’s sentiments; while I doubt that he was speaking for the entire organisation (MK) – I have interacted with several MK vets, and I doubt they all agree with his view – his deduction beats social logic. It has not been explained what the allegations against you have to do with your political affiliation or the birthday celebration for that matter. Your only link to the party is the fact that you are its current provincial chief.

For over a week, all we had was the young woman’s version of events, as recorded at Sun City Police Station. When you finally decided to break your silence last Saturday, claims of  ‘conspiracy’ emerged. Who exactly is conspiring against you?

Now, let me assume that the complainant’s version is true.

On Saturday January 2, 2016, she went ‘by you’ for an interview whereby you offered her a job as your personal assistant. Mr. Fransman, I have checked and found no traces of any advertisements for a position of a PA ‘by you’. This makes me believe, [again if her sworn statement recorded by the police officers is to be believed], that you opted to headhunt for the position. Well, headhunting is legally sound and acceptable in our country.

Two days later, your headhunted PA accompanied you and others travelling to Rustenburg to attend this very important day of the oldest political party on the continent. You arrived in Kimberly and decided to take a break at Flamingo Hotel. And there the alleged inappropriate act occurred.

Kimberly is very important in my letter to you for several reasons. To start with, during your address to the public on Saturday, you pledged your cooperation with the police's investigations. How far would your cooperation go Mr. Fransman? For jurisdictional purposes, the Sun City Police file containing the allegations against you will have to be moved to Kimberly, a process that you know would take time. Since we know that Flamingo Hotel is just outside Kimberly's CBD, we have to add a few more days for the right police station near the hotel to be identified, and maybe a detective who is not swamped with hundreds of cases can look at your file.

These are matters beyond your control that will continue to conspire against your good name, Mr. Fransman. Now imagine the current state of the complainant. She quit her job as your PA within a few days of starting work, following the alleged experience. She is now probably unemployed, broke and hiding due to embarrassment. That said, how many times do you think she will afford to travel to and from Kimberley to either check on her matter or to find the detective assigned to her case? I reckon not even once.

And even if she were to identify the detective, how further down in the pile do you think her file would be? Detectives in other parts of the country handle hundreds of unrelated cases at any given time; is it any different in Kimberly? Logically, Mr. Fransman, you and I know quite well that it will take years for this matter to be concluded. But that doesn’t stop you from doing what is right for all women of this country.

The ANC, having just turned 104, is surely much bigger than you. For the sake of the party, wouldn’t it be appropriate to take a leave of absence until this matter is sorted? Wouldn’t that make you a stronger leader? How is sitting back and waiting for the party’s integrity system to investigate the matter going to help you and the complainant?

What would it cost you to tell your party and those pledging undying allegiance and loyalty to you; “Comrades, these claims are quite serious, and as innocent as I know I am, I can not fully concentrate on my duties of being your provincial boss before I am cleared of all claims.”

In my books, Mr. Fransman, that would be a perfect leader showing perfect leadership. Please don’t be like British MP Simon Danczuk who didn’t find anything inappropriate in ‘sexting’ a teenager, and has threatened to sue his party for suspending him. That is not leadership.

If your advisors said you could weather this storm, Mr. Fransman, they lied to you. The cliché of innocent until proven guilty only applies to judicial systems, not in the court of public opinion. This cloud, despite the drought and heat sweeping across the country, will hover over your good name for sometime to come. I, personally, don’t buy into your conspiracy claims, unless you can prove it.

At the very least, you would be guilty of poor judgement, which still has no space in public leadership. Remember what happened to Premier Helen Zille when, with much fanfare, she roped in her friend of forty years to be the DA’s presidential candidate? After the breakup she announced to everyone that her long time ‘friend’ could not be trusted.

Poor judgement or plain stupidity, it doesn’t matter much that this young woman took the PA job you offered, or the fact that you even considered her for the position. What I see is a young woman seeking and hoping to leave her waitressing job for better fortunes. Mr. Fransman, if you really wanted to help her you would have arranged for, say, some training that would enhance her career instead of offering her a position she clearly wasn’t qualified for. That would have been the appropriate judgement and a clever one for that matter.

This letter may continue so I beg not to say goodbye...