DA’s poster boy for good governance in the Bitou Municipality, Memory Booysen, finds himself in the middle of a job-for-sex scandal after an alleged WhatsApp conversation between him and an unknown woman wanting a job – was exposed.
Though Booysen denies the allegation, it was revealed that the widely circulated WhatsApp chat originated from his phone line and reached prominent members of the party like the Western Cape premier, Helen Zille and several MECs.
Booysen leads the DA/Cope-run Bitou council as the executive mayor and was described by Zille as a mayor of courage, principle and integrity in 2011 when he first stood for the post.
However, in the conversation which was predominantly written in Xhosa, a woman who was addressing the person as “mayor” repeated asks for a job.
In one of the text, the woman, known only as Pumi, explains she used to work at a library but stopped because of “certain reasons”. She asks: “Please can you make a plan. What I can do for you will be big.”
Then the person (“mayor”) responded “how big” which was returned with: “Very, very big. I wouldn’t lie to you. My children are impoverished at the moment.”
The chats are laced with explicit language, sexual frustration and innuendo referring to how he likes “wet things” like a woman’s “Garden of Eden”. He practically begs Pumi to send a picture of herself, wearing nothing but a dress according to the exchange, and wanting to know if she “still wants” him.
But Pumi maintained she would only do as he wants when she gets the job position at the library in town, advertised in December which she applied for.
“So do you promise the position,” she wrote as she dropped the name of the relevant person who should be pressured to hire her, saying: “Please speak to Mrs Johnston about it. You won’t regret it.”
In another exchange, Pumi suggests she could have traveled with the person to Cape Town. The response is: “That’s risky nje… my body will want you.”
Meanwhile, Booysen who has blatantly denied knowing any one in such name said: “I want to categorically state that the alleged texts’ to Pumi could not have originated from me, even if according to your records, the said texts originated from my mobile number.
“The only Pumi on my mobile contact list is a blood relative, residing in the Bitou jurisdiction,” he said, adding that his communication to Pumi, as a relative, remained strictly on family issues, traditional and cultural matters pertaining to their family and clan.
“The inference of the alleged texts is not only regrettable and deeply hurtful, but deserves to be denounced with the contempt that it deserves.”
He stressed that texts of any inappropriate nature would be “against every personal, moral, ethical and principled belief and values I hold dear to and advocate. Now that I’m aware of the existence of these fabricated and/or unauthorized texts generated from my mobile phone, I would conduct an investigation among the various individuals who ordinarily enjoy access to my phone,” he said.
Booysen further said it was possible his phone has been hacked by an unauthorized individual because direct support staff in his office were allowed unsupervised access, particularly while he was in transit or during official engagements.
“By the same token, in my family and social environment, the phone is often left unattended as well, with the possibility and potential for access by anyone, including friends and/or even visitors to my home.” he said as he promised to conduct a thorough investigation into all those who had access to his phone to tarnish his image with the Job-for-sex Scandal.
Moreover, the DA said it believed the Job-for-sex allegations to be a ploy to discredit Booysen adding that the allegations contained in an e-mail sent by a seemingly anonymous source, under the pseudonym of Maxwell Jamangile, form part of a broader and concerted attempt to discredit the mayor of Bitou, Memory Booysen.”
“This is not the first time that unfounded and sensational allegations about DA public representatives have been distributed from this e-mail address,” DA spokeswoman Liza Albrecht said, adding that the Job-for-sex information in the e-mail is completely unverifiable in nature and “does not come from a trusted source. As such the party can only act if there is credible and verifiable evidence to substantiate the allegations.”