The African National Congress (ANC) will be closely watched to see how it deals with accusations of sexual harassment against its national spokesperson Pule Mabe amid calls for his suspension.
The party says it’s seriously concerned about the matter and wants feedback from an internal panel dealing with it by the end of the week.
In a 14-page letter to the party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, Mabe’s personal assistant alleges weeks of emotional and verbal abuse after she rebuffed his sexual advances.
She also told Eyewitness News how she felt betrayed by a man she regarded as a brother and respected as her boss.
According to the woman’s letter, which has been seen by Eyewitness News, the 26-year-old woman was offered a job as a personal assistant by Mabe in July.
Without any experience or induction, things got off to a rough start, which eventually led to a demotion and a pay cut.
Within days of her starting her new job, she details how she was sexually harassed by Mabe, who on one occasion slipped into her bed in the middle of the night and draped his legs over her body.
In another incident, she alleges that Mabe insisted on sharing a chalet with her and touched her suggestively on her shoulder.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says these allegations are concerning.
“We’re very concerned about it that’s why we acted swiftly. We immediately established a grievance panel and that panel was given a very strict deadline that we want this matter to be resolved speedily.”
Kodwa says a grievance panel set up to deal with the matter will hold a hearing on Wednesday.
He adds that the ANC wants a speedy resolution to avoid questions around the credibility and integrity of those who speak on behalf of the party.