The South African Council for the Architectural Profession is marred by allegations of sexual harassment and mistreating of female councillors. This is according to Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of the Public Works Committee Madeleine Hicklin.
She raised concern over what she says is a lack of oversight by the department. This came up during a virtual briefing by Minister Patricia De Lille and departmental officials to the committee. Hicklin says there are tremendous problems within the Council dating back to the previous administration.
“We have female councillors who are kicked out of the council. We have allegations of sexual harassment. We have an obligation as the Department of Public Works to ensure that proper governance is actually taken into consideration when dealing with these councils, who may have rogue elements within them and they are really and truly not being dealt with. For the Department to say to women who have been harassed to a point where one was actually in fear of her life. I have asked for a report and I am giving them three months to come back to me. It doesn’t sit well with me.”
De Lille says a probe was launched in October last year. She says a report has been released and will be followed by an independent investigation.
“The report came in February 2021. The report was referred to the Deputy Minster and myself. And because we are concerned about very-very serious allegations contained in that report and that the people that were involved in the first investigation, I agreed with the DM (Deputy Minister) on the 4th of March that it is better that we get an independent investigation going. We have also informed the complainant on the 4th of March that this is what we have decided to do because of the seriousness of the allegations.”