Pule Mabe's former PA hits back at sexual harassment complaint outcomes

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ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has accused of sexual harassment.PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has accused of sexual harassment.PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla

As Pule Mabe returns to work after being cleared by the ANC's grievance panel of sexual harassment, his former personal assistant who lodged the complaint against him, has come out in public and rejected the findings.

Kgoerano Kekana (26) in a statement released on Thursday said she was saddened by having to take a stand against the ANC, which she joined when she was 15 years old.

READ: Pule Mabe to return to Luthuli House this week, ANC confirms

She argued, however, that she did so because she wanted her voice to be heard.

"I strongly disagree with the outcomes," said Kekana, who accused the panel of ignoring seven of her eight witnesses to corroborate her version of events and of not even including a report from the only witness the panel heard from in a report on the matter.

Horrible 4 months

Kekana, who has kept her name out of the public domain throughout the hearing, described working in the ANC national spokesperson's office as the "most horrible four months" of her life.

She submitted a 14-page letter detailing the alleged sexual harassment, which she said started from the very first assignment she worked on with Mabe. She claimed the ANC spokesperson forced himself into her bed on two occasions in 2018.

She also claimed her rejection of his advances resulted in her being ill-treated by Mabe, having her salary cut and eventually being moved from the role.

"They demonstrate that the panel has given way to toxic masculinity, misogyny and patriarchy - where I have had to go to great pains to explain myself. The perpetrator has been emboldened by the outcome and gets off scot-free within the organisation," said Kekana of the hearing's outcomes.

"Not only is this an affront towards women, it gives further courage to abusive men to bully female subordinates," she continued.

Recommendations

The grievance panel, which was chaired by national executive committee (NEC) member, Sdumo Dlamini, Thoko Didiza and two representatives from Luthuli House found there was no evidence of sexual harassment but did recommended:

·         The ANC should within three months adopt a sexual harassment policy, and train all its management and staff in offices throughout the country on this policy.

·         Address the human resource issues raised during the grievance procedure and ensure the complainant's reintegration as an employee of the ANC

·         The privacy of staff and manager's bedrooms at meetings be respected, and where meetings are to be held or work to be done, arrangements be made for such to take place in meeting rooms or public spaces.

Mabe, in turn, claimed his former assistant lied about her qualifications before she was appointed for the job.

Kekana also lambasted her political party for not having either a sexual harassment policy or a recruitment, appointment and promotion policy.

"This is disturbing because my organisation and political home is the leader of society and has proclaimed on numerous occasions to espouse the principles of equality, non-sexism, and equity," said Kekana, reminding the ANC of its own principles.

Other avenues

The ANC last week said both Kekana and Mabe had agreed with the party on the outcomes and that she would be absorbed back into Luthuli house to serve at a different department.

The former PA, though, has continued to question how the ANC's concluded the matter. She says she is seeking to explore other avenues to get recourse.

"This 'case closed' decision has been backed by the top six. What this tells me is that not having recourse for an appeal in the organisation, my matter was not taken seriously, and they were simply trying to tick the boxes," she said.

She also laid into Mabe claiming he had made up conspiracy theories around her claims, labeling this an "insult" and the reason that lies were paddled about her on his behalf.

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