The deputy secretary of the governing ANC, Jessie Duarte told attendees of a women’s dialogue on Thursday hosted by the party of how rife sexual harassment is at the organisation’s headquarters, Luthuli House, News24 reports.
It was reported that Duarte expressed her shock at the growth of toxic masculinity in society.
The governing party resolved to hold workshops on sexual harassment at the workplace due to the “difficult” time experienced at the party’s headquarters, it was reported Duarte said.
The party’s spokesperson Pule Mabe and the head of the presidency Zizi Kodwa have been accused of sexual harassment and rape respectively.
However, an internal ANC inquiry found Mabe not guilty of sexual harassment. Kodwa has been accused of rape by an alleged 28-year-old complainant.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced last month that the two had requested not to work as spokespersons for the party until they had cleared their names.
Duarte said the governing party decided to hold the workshops in an effort to find ways of addressing sexual harassment in the workplace, perceptions of sexual harassment, and the realities of it.
“[T]here wouldn’t be an outcry if there wasn’t a problem,” Duarte was quoted as saying.
Shocking revelations were made at the workshop, Duarte said, with male party members saying that it was not only women who were victims of harassment and that they, the men, receive pictures and phone calls on a daily basis and that they, too, are being sexually harassed by women.
Pictures of women availing themselves to Luthuli House staffers were shown to Duarte, she said.
She was quoted as saying that “tweets” were “the most undemocratic thing” revealed at the workshop, along with “the WhatsApp and the Facebook”, with sexual harassment occurring “on all sides”.
Duarte questioned how the party would bring an end to this occurrence and discourage it from its members.
The party’s deputy secretary said women should raise their voices on sexual harassment at the workplace, encouraging them to be activists.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)