ANCYL presidential hopeful denies harassment charges

Lubabalo Molefe. (Facebook)

Lubabalo Molefe. (Facebook)

The ANC Youth League prepared to reinvent itself following the disbandment of its national executive committee (NEC) and the appointment of an ANC task team to oversee its renewal.

Among those running for the candidacy of youth league president is senior member Molefe. The Mail & Guardian has learnt that Molefe was dismissed from his position as a senior manager at the state-run Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) following a slew of misconduct allegations, including sexual harassment and defamation.

Amongst the accusations, all of which were denied by Molefe, is the charge that he told a pregnant colleague that she was “a candidate for HIV” because she “clearly does not use a condom”. He was also accused of making unwelcome sexual advances to colleagues and intimidating those who came forward about his alleged behaviour.

But Molefe said that the charges were trumped up because he intended to expose nepotism and tender corruption at the regulator.
Molefe intimated that the charges against him were brought by beneficiaries of the alleged nepotism. Molefe’s counter-charges notwithstanding, an urgent application he brought to the Labour Court last week to have his dismissal overturned was rejected with costs. He will now attempt to clear his name at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. 

The M&G understands that disciplinary proceedings against Molefe were brought in February this year. In early March, allegations against senior RSR officials surfaced in the Star, which included nepotism. The regulator denied the claims.

'Running away'
Molefe admitted that he was formally charged with sexual harrasment, but said the real reasons for the allegations were “not even related to that”. He said the disciplinary committee later changed the nature of the charges to include dishonesty, but he was fired before the hearing was completed.

“The disciplinary committee is running away because they know I will expose all their nepotism,” he said. Molefe is lobbying support for his planned candidacy and plans to position himself as the Julius Malema antithesis. As a former member of the youth league’s now-disbanded NEC, he plans to campaign on the basis of inclusiveness and non-racialism. 

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza directed questions to the task team’s convenor, Mzwandile Masina, who said the charges against Molefe “have got nothing to do with the organisation”. The RSR did not respond to questions.

Molefe might be one of the first candidates to openly state his case, but he is up against heavy-weight contenders for the youth league presidency post, such as youth league treasurer general and ANC NEC member Pule Mabe, who is said to have the support of Jacob Zuma.

A date for the election of the youth league's new leadership has yet to be set by the task team and it remains early days for hopefuls such as Molefe. But he said that he was lobbying branches on the basis that he could position the youth league as an organisation more moderate in its rhetoric, which would include all young South Africans in its vision.

“Malema was more rude than radical. I’m of the opinion that Julius Malema should not have said he was prepared to shoot and kill for Zuma. We fought about that in the youth league NEC. We should be different in terms of radicalisation ... It’s about making the ANC’s programme relevant for today and not attacking everybody who speaks. I mean, I would not talk to Naledi Pandor the way that Julius did."

'The glue that connects us'
Molefe said: “I will contest [the position] on these conditions: that we agree that the agenda for the renewal of the youth league is the glue that connects us. The youth league has been completely broken by what’s happened – from the branches to the provinces. What we see now is not what it is supposed to be.

“We can’t behave the way we have been and lead the country to ruin, by creating a disconnect in society on the basis of race and name calling. We are looking for a united nation here. We should be architects at that level."

Molefe said the new youth league needed to respond to the needs of young people born in post-democratic South Africa and be reflective of their demographics.

“We need to stop racialising the youth league and we need to create a platform where all young people can participate,” he said.

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics.  Read more from Sarah Evans

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