Citing the fact that the complainant “does not indicate what circumstances are indicative of the alleged sexual harassment,” the ANC grievance panel tasked with mediating the sexual harassment case brought forward by his former personal assistant, has ruled in favour of ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
The panel was chaired by ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) members Sdumo Dlamini and Thoko Didiza.
According to a report published by City Press, the party also claims that the complainant’s evidence was mostly circumstantial while Mabe’s evidence was direct and therefore went further in proving his version of events.
Mabe made headlines late last year after his former personal assistant, in a letter of grievance sent to ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, accused Mabe of sexual harassment.
Mabe became the party’s national spokesperson in February 2018, following the departure of Zizi Kodwa, and the young lady in question was reportedly hired sans qualification in June.
Her duties commenced in August.
In her 14-page letter, seen by The Citizen, Mabe’s former PA detailed various instances in which she alleged Mabe behaved inappropriately in the work environment and on work trips.
She also painted a picture of Mabe as a tyrannical and controlling employer.
Mabe went on special leave from his duties in November ahead of the inquiry which commenced in December.
Although Mabe agrees that her salary was cut, he denies being the kind of employer she described and the ANC grievance panel echoed his sentiments by stating that they found her “questioning of the HR process disingenuous and/or inconsistent.”
The publication cites unnamed sources close to the complainant who claimed that witnesses who were supposed to corroborate her version of events were not called to testify and those within the ANC who were initially on her side defected to Mabe’s side at the 11th hour.
If the complainant is unhappy with the greivance panel’s findings and the party’s ruling, she can now go to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) or the labour court.
She also had to press official charges against Mabe at a police station as the panel felt it was “an independent matter of the law enforcement process and does not have a bearing in the hearing”
City Press also reports that her sympathisers within the ANC NEC are supposed to fight this matter at a meeting scheduled for Sunday and aimed at finalizing the party’s final candidate list ahead of elections.
Among the panel’s recommendations are:
– The ANC must update its recruitment policy (especially regarding headhunting)
– The complainant must remain a full-time employee at Luthuli house but in a different department
– The ANC must update its sexual harassment policy
– Both parties must be taken for counselling
Current ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said he could not comment before a report on the matter had been presented.