ANC spokesperson on ‘leave’ pending outcome of sexual harassment claim
The ANC's national spokesperson and national executive committee member Pule Mabe has asked to be placed on “leave”, pending the outcome of a grievance hearing against him.
Mabe's personal assistant laid a complaint, alleging that he had cut her salary and emotionally abused her when she refused his advances, according to a letter the 26-year-old wrote to the ANC's deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
“It is only fair and prudent that when we are faced with such serious allegations we put the interests of our organisation first,” Mabe said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said he was raised by a single woman, his grandmother, who went the “extra mile” to provide for him, and he would never go out of his way to violate women.
He said he would be doing an “injustice” if he failed to give the allegations against him the “attention and respect” they deserved.
The ruling party, in a separate statement, said it received his request and accepted it.
The grievance process is set to take place on Wednesday. This is after calls by the ANC Women's League as well as sections of the ANC Youth League for Mabe's removal from his post.
It is not the first time Mabe has been at the centre of a scandal since his appointment as the party’s official spokesman.
The Mail & Guardian in May linked Mabe to alleged dodgy tenders in the North West province, which at the time was gripped by violent protests calling for the axing of then premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Gauteng premier David Makhura had in May referred alleged irregularities identified in a provincial agriculture department tender, involving a company linked to Mabe, to the Special Investigating Unit, according to a statement at the time.
In September 2014, shortly after Mabe was elected to parliament, R2.2m worth of assets were seized from him and two others accused of defrauding the SA Social Security Agency. Later that year he and his co-accused were cleared of the charges. He resigned from parliament in 2017 in order to pursue his business interests.
Mabe replaced Kodwa as the ANC’s national spokesman after the party’s elective conference at Nasrec in December last year.
Kodwa as well as Luthuli House official Dakota Legoete will act as spokespeople until the Mabe matter has been resolved.