Mabe asks for leave over allegations of sexual harassment

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe. (Gallo Images)

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe. (Gallo Images)

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe has written to the party’s secretary general Ace Magashule asking for leave pending the outcome of the disciplinary processes that began last week.

Mabe has been accused of sexually harassing his 26-year-old personal assistant.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, the ANC confirmed a complaint was lodged at its headquarters last week and the party has established a grievance panel.

“I have taken this decision in order 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,” wrote Mabe in a statement on Tuesday.

In a 14-page letter to the party’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, Mabe’s 26-year-old personal assistant detailed how he offered her a job in exchange for sex. EWN reports that the assistant asked Duarte to intervene.

On Monday, priority crime investigation unit the Hawks told EWN on Monday that they “want to get ready in case the case lands on our door”.

ANC Women’s League secretary general Meokgo Matuba said the league was “disappointed” in Mabe and called for Mabe’s immediate suspension.

“We think that the African National Congress in the meantime, must appoint someone. Let him be relieved of his duties and begin to deal with this matter in a proper organisational way,” Matuba said on Radio 702 on Monday.

The ANC said it would not comment on the matter until the outcome of its internal proceedings. 

The women’s league, however, believes women “deserve better”.

“We feel that women deserve better. Their rights are also human rights and therefore we must be treated with respect. We expect the ANC to act very fast on this matter,” said Matuba.

“We expect leaders of the African National Congress to lead by example and discipline whoever violates women’s rights within our organisation.”

Read Mabe’s full statement below:

Today I wrote to the Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC), Comrade Ace Magashule, requesting that I be allowed to take leave until such time that the internal processes of attending to an internal grievance brought against me on serious allegations of, amongst other things, Sexual Harassment, are completed.

I have taken this decision in order 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. 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.

I was raised by a Single Woman - my own Grandmother, who went an extra mile to provide for us. I have been nurtured from a very early age to understand what it means to preserve the rights of women. I will never in my clear mind and conscious go out of my way to violate women.

Throughout my life as an activist I have come to appreciate the importance of coexisting with my own fellow cadres regardless of their social or sexual standing. I will be doing injustice on my part if I don’t give these allegations the attention and respect they deserve.

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie works in the Mail & Guardian's online department. She majored in English Literature at a small liberal arts college in the USA.  Read more from Gemma Ritchie

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