African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Pule Mabe’s sexual harassment hearing was postponed from Wednesday because the 26-year-old complainant in the matter was not available, News24 reports.
Mabe was accused of sexual harassment by a 26-year-old woman who sent a letter of grievances to ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
He took leave when the complaint against him was lodged in December last year.
However, the complainant has reportedly denied that her failure to attend the hearing was due to her losing confidence in her allegations.
The 26-year-old, Mabe’s former assistant, reportedly told the ANC that she would not be able to make it to the hearing.
News24 quoted her as saying that she had been shocked that Mabe went against the party’s wish of not revealing the hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
The postponement was confirmed by Mabe who was on the ANC’s campaign trail in KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the party’s manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, on Saturday.
He said the hearing was postponed “at the eleventh hour” following a request by his former PA.
Mabe reportedly said he was committed to seeing the matter being speedily resolved and that he was ready to tell his side of the story to the ANC’s grievance panel established in light of the complaint lodged against him.
The panel, which includes Thoko Didiza and Sdumo Dlamini, first met to hear Mabe’s case in December last year.
Mabe’s former PA told News24 that she could not make it to the hearing because it was communicated to her at a late stage when she already had family commitments.
The 26-year-old said she would only arrive in Durban for the ANC celebrations on Thursday, which meant she would not be available.
She was quoted as saying it was false that she had decided not to follow through with the matter because of being frightened.
It was reported that Mabe and the complainant said they could not discuss the details of the case.
Mabe reportedly said he was not interested in whether the complaint against him had been a political ploy.
Mabe said the texts circulating on social media purported to have been sent by him to the 26-year-old complainant were lies because he had never used an 083 number, which was seen in the messages.
He told News24 that although he was on leave pending the outcome of the hearing, he remained a member of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) and continued “to execute the work of the NEC”.
Mabe said the complainant’s representative indicated they would be available on the ninth and the tenth, supposedly of this month.
He said these dates were confirmed via email to all the parties and that the ANC also confirmed its availability, including himself.
“So, I was available. I will be available at any given time. If they call me today and say I must come to a hearing, I’m ready,” Mabe said.
He said allegations that he and the complainant had been in a relationship were hogwash.