“Down stairs toilets for non-whites or if you black wearing EPWP overall-by order councillor office”
– thus read a notice pasted on the front door of Port Elizabeth’s Kuyga Community Hall. Furious residents were quick to demand answers from Ward 40 DA councillor, Jason Grobbelaar.
This unfortunate turn of events came about after three Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers were allegedly denied use of the ablution facilities next to Grobbelaar’s office the previous day. The facilities, they were told, were for staff use only.
Grobbelaar’s assistant, Antoinette Hermanus, directed the three to the downstairs public toilets next to the hall. These, however, were locked.
The next day a group of 20 EPWP workers went to confront Grobbelaar, which is when the notice was discovered.
Notices like these were widely used in the Apartheid era. Accordingly, one member of the protesting group, Siphokazi Sihlabi, 28, told reporters that the notice triggered old feelings of suffering.
“It would appear that apartheid is coming back to haunt us,” Sihlabi said. “I am very perturbed by this sign that prevents us from using the toilets upstairs.”
Grobbelaar and his team strongly denied erecting the notice, and instead claimed that it was an act of sabotage.
No Deception Indicated
According to news website rnews, both Grobbelaar and Hermanus as well as PR Councillor Sebenzile Rafani, and Ward Assistants Mzingizi Vandala were examined by an independent polygraph expert and labour law specialist to determine the truthfulness of their claims.
About the results of the polygraph examinations, Cllr Werner Senekal, Chief Whip of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Council, said that all examinees were indeed being truthful.
“The Polygraph examiner, a labour law specialist, confirmed that the comprehensive psycho-physiological analysis resulted in a conclusion that no deception was indicated and that all answers were truthful” said Senekal.
“After having also conducted my own investigation, I have concluded that no DA Councillor or support staff member was involved or had any knowledge of posting the sign on the doors at the Kuyga Community Centre.”
The incident comes shortly after EWPW workers and ANC supporters disrupted mayor Athol Trollip’s Arbor Day project, which had to be abandoned.
Senekal went on to accuse the ANC of creating and erecting the notice in an attempt to discredit the DA following the ANC’s loss of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the local municipal elections.
ANC ward chairman Booi Mantewu denied any involvement, claiming “I am the [ANC] chairperson of this ward and everything that happens here I would know about,”
Three ANC members, including Mantewu, were allegedly asked to take polygraph tests. All three declined.
Polygraph Testing Explained
The polygraph machine measures a number of physiological factors, which includes heart rate, skin conductivity, and respiration (breathing). When we lie, our hearts beat faster, we start sweating, and we start breathing faster.
The polygraphist or examiner has a number of algorithms at his or her disposal – not only to determine any significant responses during questioning, but to identify attempts or ‘tricks’ to alter the measurements recorded by the polygraph machine.
Polygraph testing can be used in any setting where the difference between truth and deception could have a significant impact. It is an effective tool used in investigations, employment interviews, and domestic settings where abuse, infidelity, or dishonesty is suspected.
CSI Africa’s veteran polygraphists are certified and accredited by the South African Polygraph Federation as well as the American Polygraph Association. CSI Africa Director Amelia Griesel is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners of South Africa (ACFE SA), an active participant in the ACFE SA Science Forum and the Vice President of SAPFED