ANC spokespersons Zizi Kodwa and Pule Mabe have temporarily stepped aside following recent separate allegations of rape and sexual harassment against them.
Party secretary general Ace Magashule made this announcement on Tuesday during a media briefing on the outcomes of the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) meeting on Monday.
“We think it is good leadership when leaders of the ANC, even when they feel that they are innocent, step aside until the allegations have been tested,” Magashule said.
Mabe, who faced disciplinary proceedings before the ANC’s grievance panel has been cleared of all allegations against him but has asked the party for an extended leave.
Kodwa has been recently accused of raping a woman at a private function in April last year, an allegation that he strongly denies.
Magashule said the NWC noted the “serious allegations of impropriety” against Kodwa and Mabe and had “accepted their request to voluntarily step aside while dealing with the matters”.
The duo will remain members of the national executive committee but will step aside as spokespersons “until these allegations have been tested”, the NWC said in a statement.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, Mabe denied media reports saying that he was going to be suspended.
“For the record, at the time of issuing this public statement such a matter had not been brought to my attention,” Mabe said.
“Last year when allegations of sexual harassment were brought against me, I voluntarily, and on my own accord, took leave and restated at the time my position that I will never violate women in any form.
“In the intervening period I have requested the organisation to allow me to extend my leave and to fully recover from the strain this whole episode has subjected me to.”
Mabe was accused of sexually harassing his 26-year-old personal assistant in December.
In a 14-page letter to the party’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, Mabe’s assistant detailed how he offered her a job in exchange for sex.
Following these allegations, Mabe wrote to Magashule asking for leave pending the outcome of the disciplinary processes instituted against him but his charges were cleared by the ANC’s grievance panel last week.
In a statement on Sunday, Kodwa said the letter sent to the ANC by the rape complainant was “replete with false accusations.”
“I am accused of rape, sexual assault and even drugging two women. At the outset, I deny these accusations with the contempt they deserve. Most importantly, I refuse to bow down to dirty tricks by cowards operating from their factional dark corners, using women to fight or neutralise me,” Kodwa said.