Dressed only in her panties and a small cloth thrown unsteadily over her breasts, a woman was dragged away by police from the seat of South African political power, the Union Buildings, on Wednesday where she demanded to see President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Hoisting a piece of cloth inscribed with her protest petition, 38-year-old Gugu Ncube accused the University of South Africa of (Unisa) and the police of covering up a sexual harassment report she filed against her boss at the Unisa Centre for Early Childhood Education (Ucece), where her employment was terminated.
She claims her manager asked for sexual favours to keep her in a job, and sacked her when she turned him down. The university says it used to sponsor Ucece, an “external company”. When the allegations were raised, Unisa says it suspended some of its staff members who were board members at Ucece, against whom allegations had been made, but a “thorough investigation” later established “there was no basis to charge the staff members concerned with the alleged offences.”
Ncube’s forcible removal from outside the government offices in Pretoria by eight female police officers drew an outpouring of sympathy on social media, but there was something else that made journalists pay attention – she’s “the daughter of prominent Zimbabwean politician Welshman Ncube”, reported the Independent Online.
But in interviews with those who know her, and some people she claims to be her relatives, they painted a disturbing picture of Gugu Ncube. Including the Ucece manager, she has accused at least three other men of sexual assault or harassment. Perhaps true, but very curious.
Welshman Ncube, the deputy president of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told this website on Wednesday that Gugu was not his child, as she had convinced herself.
“I don’t know this woman. I read somewhere she was born in 1981. I was in high school at Mzilikazi in 1980 when she was conceived and very much in love with a girl I thought I would go on and marry. Her mother is not known to me, there’s just no conceivable possibility she could be my daughter,” Ncube said by phone.
A friend who grew up with Gugu in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, said: “She’s psychotic, she’s delusional and it’s just unfortunate a lot of people will fall victim to her before she gets the help she needs.”
ZimLive has been told that Gugu had a difficult childhood after her father, a police officer called Lot Ncube from Gokwe in the Midlands, shot and killed her mother, Gladys Dube, before turning the gun on himself sometime in 1986 when she was just five.
“She was raised by her grandmother in rural Gwanda, and moved to the town where she stayed with her aunt while going through her secondary education. Her aunt lived at a police station there because the uncle is a police officer. The aunt now lives in Masvingo, after they were transferred,” the friend said.
“We have to assume that because of that double tragedy early in her childhood, she has these demons following her. Now she does not recognise the uncle in whose house she grew up, she insists he’s not her relative. She has another aunt living in South Africa and a brother, they have given up on her; they’ve no interest in helping her.”
In 2016, having moved to South Africa, Gugu accused two men of sexual assault – one Pastor Acts Aota and a Sinqobile Kaboto. Police looked into the allegations and decided not to pursue the cases.
Then, in 2017, Gugu was again in the limelight after accusing an Ivorian man named Marc Gbaffou of raping her. She claimed she was dating Gbaffou, then chairman of the African Diaspora Forum, but she had refused to have sex with him until he divorced his wife. In a hotel room at the end of February, she claimed she got drunk with wine and Gbaffou had sex with her after she passed out – which she only discovered when she woke up the following day. Gbaffou allegedly apologised, and she let it slide.
Then, on April 4 the same year, she claimed Gbaffou raped her a second time at a hotel in Parktown, Johannesburg, after spiking her glass of wine. She called police who did not turn up, she later claimed.
On April 7, she said she was back at the hotel with Gbaffou who gave her wine, and then raped her a third time. She reported Gbaffou for rape on April 8, but the matter was not pursued by the courts. According to Hillbrow Police Station, prosecutors declined a prosecution due to lack of evidence.
Fast forward 2018, and Gugu would accuse Mhlava Edward Shibambu, her boss at Ucece and subject of her nude protest on Wednesday, of “asking for sexual favours in exchange for my job”. Police say they have found no prosecutable case, and Ucece say they reviewed the allegations after Shibambu was suspended but no wrongdoing was found.
ZimLive understands Shibambu, who called the police after receiving death threats on Wednesday, has held discussions with some of Gugu’s past “victims” and they may be willing to go to the media with their stories of how she ruined their lives with false allegations.
Gugu was charged with public indecency following her arrest on Wednesday. Her phones were not being answered when we tried to reach her for this story.