Look at this!

Two South African politicians are in trouble for viewing porn at work.

Published February 12, 2001 8:02PM (EST)

If news reports from South Africa are correct, there seems to be a trend toward porn viewing among politicians of the Western Cape.

Porndog Politico No. 2, Cape Legislature veteran Anwar Ismael, lays his head on the chopping block this month, following in the soiled footsteps of former Cape Mayor William Bantom, who resigned after being caught viewing online porn in the mayor's parlor. You'd think Ismael would have learned from Bantom's mistake. Apparently not, for only a month after the mayor's surfing habits were made public, Ismael allegedly dabbled with X-rated computer files in the presence of a female colleague.

According to South African news agencies, Ismael purportedly logged on to the computer of fellow provincial Legislature member Audrey van Zyl, and began downloading porn. The charges against the politician allege that in clicking through the files, he acted "in an improper or rude manner towards a female colleague." And he was booted from his position as chairman of the standing finance committee.

Ismael is also charged with neglecting his constituents, disobeying party decisions, skipping meetings and fudging funds, but he insists he's innocent and is the target of powerful political rivals. He has taken his cause to the Cape High Court, and wants his appearance before a disciplinary committee to be held in public rather than behind closed doors, as his Democratic Alliance Party would prefer. Since he has already been embarrassed, he believes the party should share in the humiliation.

"Political parties are becoming autocracies," Ismael told the Argus. "Dogs have rights, animals have rights, but we don't. They are all telling party leadership what they want to hear ... Politicians give up lucrative jobs, but the moment you open your mouth and speak for your rights, your head will be sliced off -- your political career will end abruptly."

The court has suspended the hearing until Feb. 21 to review the case more closely.

By Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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