Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba  has told his new mayoral committee to not get  involved in party politics, but rather to serve residents of the city. Picture: SOWETAN
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has told his new mayoral committee to not get involved in party politics, but rather to serve residents of the city. Picture: SOWETAN

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has denied the "unfounded" and "libellous" allegations that he made sexist remarks against women in the city.

A group of women marched to his office on Thursday demanding he apologise after local media quoted him saying: "The days when they [ANC administration] allowed their girlfriends to run state institutions are over."

"Those allegations are unfounded and unsupported, in fact they are libellous. Mayor Mashaba’s lawyers have demanded that certain individuals who started these allegations some time ago produce proof of what they are alleging or face legal consequences," said Mashaba’s spokesman, Gabu Tugwana.

Tugwana said he was not at liberty to reveal who the individuals were but that they were high-ranking officials.

He said Mashaba was the only mayor with 50% women and 50% men in his mayoral committee.

Earlier on Thursday a group called the #SexismMustFall Women’s Group issued a statement saying Mashaba’s statements were poisonous and threatened to taint the reputations of women.

"Women in business and government leadership have long been insulted in a democratic SA, and often by men who usually personally empower women who do them sexual favours and then assume that this is the status quo everywhere," read their statement.

It further stated there was no way Mashaba had been misquoted because there is no record of him complaining about the issue.

#SexismMustFall was part of the group that marched to Mashaba’s office to hand over a memorandum demanding that he apologise for and withdraw the statement, and commit to advancing gender equality in Johannesburg.

"Mashaba is expected to respond to the women’s demands within seven working days, ending Monday, October 24 2016, wherein he also needs to outline how he is going to advance women empowerment in the municipality that he leads," the group said.

They were joined in the march by the Progressive Professionals Forum, Young Women for Business Network, the Black Management Forum, as well as the ANC Greater Johannesburg Region and the ANC Women’s League.

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