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Build-up to ANC's big bash rocked by sexual harassment allegations

It's emerged police are investigating a complaint of sexual harassment against Marius Fransman.

FILE: ANC President Jacob Zuma (R) is accompanied by the party's Western Cape Chairperson Marius Fransman (L). Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - The build-up to the African National Congress (ANC)'s 104th birthday bash in Rustenburg in the North West has been rocked by infighting within the ANC and a sexual harassment scandal involving a senior party leader.

It emerged on Friday that police in the province were investigating a complaint of sexual harassment against the ANC's Western Cape Chairperson Marius Fransman.

Party heavyweights are in Rustenburg mobilising support for Saturday's event taking place at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

But it has not been an easy week for the ANC in the province, as the party has been forced to confront internal issues.

On Monday, police dispersed a protest against North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

Adding to the party's woes, the ANC's Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman is being investigated by police for sexual harassment.

National spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says Fransman has assured the ANC that he is cooperating with police.

"At the moment we are aware. We are here [at the birthday celebrations] and we want to allow for investigations to take place."

The drama has done little to dampen the mood of ANC members at a cake-cutting ceremony, which was attended by President Jacob Zuma this afternoon.

#ANC104 President Jacob Zuma at the party's cake-cutting event in Rustenburg. RE pic.twitter.com/cllXK1Pfyc

He urged members to defend the organisation, and to put aside petty squabbles.

THE OPPOSITION REACTS

Opposition parties are calling for the ANC to take disciplinary steps against Fransman.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says the ANC should suspend Fransman.

"When other political parties have dealt with such matters, the ANC has called on them to immediately place those individuals under suspension. We are calling on the ANC to place Marius Fransman under suspension until the investigation concludes."

The Democratic Alliances (DA)'s Liza Albrecht says action has to be taken.

"If the ANC doesn't immediately suspend Mr Fransman, they will be seen to approve of is alleged sexual assault."

The DA's Patricia de Lille stressed the need for investigations.

"The desperate fight in South Africa against the scourge of sexual and domestic abuse is tragically undermined when party political leaders face criminal charges for these exact crimes. Sexual assault charges against him must be investigated by the South African Police statement. Sexual assault charges against Fransman must be investigated by the Saps, there is no place for sex offenders in the seats of high political office."

The Congress of the People (Cope) has also shared the same sentiments and says it will be keeping an eye on the case.

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