In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon by the ANC on behalf of its spokesperson, Pule Mabe, the governing party indicated that Mabe has taken leave. This amid allegations of sexual harassment laid against him by his former personal assistant.
The statement says Mabe has requested leave from ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule until the internal processes into the allegations against him are completed.
“I have taken this decision to ensure integrity and fairness in the said internal processes and to remove any possibility of any perceived interference in or influence of such processes,” Mabe said.
He goes on to attribute his upbringing to his grandmother, who taught him to “understand what it means to preserve the rights of women”.
“I will never in my clear mind and [conscience] go out of my way to violate women,” he says.
Meanwhile, Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini said on Tuesday morning that the ANC Women’s League was in support of the victim and that she had faith in the grievance committee, which was set up by the ANC to investigate the allegations surrounding Mabe’s conduct with the 26-year-old.
This is according to an interview that she had with the SABC after the allegations against Mabe first surfaced on Monday.
“Our position as the Women’s League [is] when there is a case of abuse, sexual harassment, even rape, we support the victim.
“Then, secondly, we always wait for the disciplinary processes to go through and thereafter we pronounce ourselves differently on the matter,” Dlamini said.
The minister said she had spoken to Mabe on Monday and that he indicated to her that he was willing to engage with the committee.
“I haven’t spoken to the victim, but he says he is prepared to go to the committee that has been set up to look into the grievance that was tabled by the deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, to members of the committee that are going to be dealing with the matter,” she said.
On Monday, the women’s league called for Mabe’s suspension.
“Based on media reports, we are led to believe that a case has been reported to the ANC leadership and we urge the ANC to move with speed and deal with this allegation in [an] unbiased, impartial and objective manner,” the league said in a statement.
Women’s league secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said: “The ANC must also consider suspending Mabe from all ANC duties pending the outcome of the case. All shall be equal before the law and we are hoping for a fair and just internal disciplinary hearing as no one is above the ANC.”
It is alleged that Mabe made unwanted sexual advances towards his assistant.
According to the 14-page letter sent by the former assistant to Duarte last month, which City Press has seen, the accuser claims that Mabe forced himself into her bed on two separate occasions. After the assistant refused Mabe’s alleged sexual advances, he allegedly made her job miserable by reducing her salary and emotionally abusing her.
The letter reads in part: “I write this letter while in the midst of great disappointment and shame. I never thought in my life I will live to see the ANC mistreat its own kids. The ANC has always been at the forefront of advancing people’s interest, creating a better life and fighting against the many ills in society. But to have experienced and witnessed the abuse from a leader of the ANC, worse a man who is meant to be a mouthpiece, is regrettable.”
The complainant will present her case before the ANC grievance committee on Wednesday.