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Did Mabe know about sexual harassment claims against him?

When EWN reached out to Pule Mabe for his formal response, he pleaded ignorance; but his party has contradicted him, confirming that he, in fact, knew of the complaint last week.

FILE: ANC's Pule Mabe on 29 May 2018. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Contrary to his earlier assertion, the African National Congress (ANC) says it's not true that party spokesperson Pule Mabe was not aware of sexual harassment allegations against him.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, the ANC confirmed that Mabe’s personal assistant lodged a grievance against him with the party's Human Resources Department.

Eyewitness News revealed on Monday how the 26-year-old woman wrote a 14-page letter to the deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte pleading for intervention.

She claims to have been sexually harassed by Mabe on at least two occasions and details how the pair's working relationship soured after she rebuffed his advances.

When EWN reached out to Mabe for his formal response to the damning accusations against him, he pleaded ignorance.

But his party has contradicted him, confirming that he, in fact, knew of the complaint last week already.

The ANC’s Zizi Kodwa explains: “The spokesperson was informed as soon as it was received by the secretary general last week but also informed that there will be a grievance panel. That panel may call him and others.”

Kodwa says the grievance panel has been given until Friday this week to finalise the matter.

The hearing will start on Wednesday.

The woman, who officially started her job just three months ago, claims Mabe mistreated her, sometimes in full view of colleagues.

She also says she was subsequently demoted and her salary cut down.

The woman claims Mabe, who had insisted on working from her room during an ANC event at the St George’s Hotel, made sexual advances towards her. And that on one of the nights, she woke up terrified after she felt his legs draped over her body.

On another occasion, he allegedly insisted on sharing a chalet with her, touched her suggestively on her shoulder and later entered and left her room in the middle of the night.

During that time, she says: “He stood there for a while as if he was trying to think of his next move. My heart couldn’t stop beating so hard.”

The woman further details what would become a strained relationship over the next weeks characterised by emotional and verbal assaults, what she calls lies and manipulation and eventually a demotion.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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