The African National Congress's national spokesperson Pule Mabe has requested the party's Secretary-General Ace Magashule accept his request for leave pending the outcome of the sexual harassment complaint laid against him by his former personal assistant.
The 26-year-old woman wrote to the party's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, several weeks ago, outlining her claims.
The woman handed over a 14-page letter, which News24 has seen, detailing the alleged sexual harassment. She claims Mabe forced himself into her bed on two occasions earlier this year.
Mabe said he had taken the decision to ensure integrity and fairness in the internal process, and to remove any possibility of any perceived interference or influence.
"It is only fair and/or prudent that when we are faced with such serious allegations we put the interest of the organisation first and allow ourselves to attend to matters of concern without constraining the integrity and standing of the movement," Mabe said in a statement.
He added he was raised by a single woman, his grandmother, and was nurtured from a very early age to understand what it meant to preserve the rights of women.
"I will never in my clear mind and conscious go out of my way to violate women," he said.
He continued that he would be doing “injustice” on his part if he did not give the allegations levelled on him the respect they deserved.
Mabe said throughout his life as an activist he had come to appreciate the importance of coexisting with his fellow cadres regardless of their social or sexual standing.