ANC reiterates commitment to adopt own sexual harassment policy

Pule Mabe, woordvoerder van die ANC. Foto: Sarel van der Walt
Pule Mabe, woordvoerder van die ANC. Foto: Sarel van der Walt
Foto: Sarel van der Walt

The ANC says it may not have an in-house sexual harassment policy just yet but it has ensured that the public is protected from unwanted sexual advances at work through the Labour Relations Act.

This was according to Nocawe Mafu, a member of the party's social transformation committee, at a media briefing at Luthuli House on Sunday.

With the ruling party's two spokespersons, Pule Mabe and Zizi Kodwa, having "voluntarily" stepped down from their duties recently amid sexual harassment accusations, the committee was forced to deal with a question on sexual harassment in what was supposed to be a manifesto briefing on social transformation.

A claim of rape had been levelled against Kodwa, who is also head of the ANC's presidency office, and Mabe's former personal assistant accused him of sexual harassment.

READ: ANC wars - The bough is breaking, when will the cradle fall?

"We acknowledge (as the ANC) that the sexual harassment policy is not there but remember the sexual harassment policy in the Labour Relations Act is the work of the ANC. The only thing you can fault us on is that the ANC on its own does not have that policy; we accept and we're working on it," Mafu said.

"How we behave is subjective but of course, it will reflect on the organisation we belong [to]. That is why the ANC has taken it upon [itself] to make sure that around the issue of sexual harassment policy, we get busy; we're talking about it, interacting with other stakeholders so that when it comes out it comes out tight and reflective."

Questions around sexual harassment came out after the committee chairperson Mondli Gungubele read out the party's manifesto statement on social transformation.

On social transformation, the committee promised the party would, among others, "call for stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences in combating violence against women and children, particularly in cases of domestic violence and sexual offences" and "equip the police and the court system to support survivors of gender-based violence and sexual assault".

Gungubele cited among others the following as the achievements of the ANC as the governing party:

• In 1994, only 6 out of 10 South Africans had access to clean drinking water. Today that figure has increased to nearly 9 out of 10;

• 4,7 million housing opportunities delivered since 1994 benefitting 14 million people;

• 90% of public schools have become no-fee paying schools, and learners are benefiting from school feeding schemes and government-subsidised scholar transport and this has contributed to the increase in school attendance from 51% in 1994 to 99% today;

• Today 9 out of 10 adult South Africans can read and write;

• The number of learners who passed matric increased from 50% before 1994 to around 78% today;

• The number of individuals on social grants increased from 3 million in 1994 to 17.5 million in 2017.

The ANC further promised to:

• Develop a plan to take care of the first 1 000 days of human life from pregnancy until two years of age;

• Address social grants exclusion errors by improving targeting (orphans, children, aged on farms, remote rural areas, disabilities);

• Increase UIF coverage as currently only 5% of unemployed people benefit from this fund;

• Release land at the disposal of the state for site and service to afford households the opportunity to build and own their own homes.

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