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Pule Mabe sex harassment accuser says the ANC has failed her

Kgoerano Kekana accused Pule Mabe of sexually harassing her on three occasions while she was his personal assistant, but the party's grievance panel said there was no evidence to back her claims.

Kgoerano Kekana. Picture: @Kgoerano/Twitter.com

JOHANNESBURG - The woman who accused African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Pule Mabe of sexual harassment says the way the matter has been handled says a lot of the party.

Mabe is expected to return to work after being cleared of allegations by the party’s grievance panel.

Kgoerano Kekana accused Mabe of sexually harassing her on three occasions while she was his personal assistant.

The panel has concluded there was no evidence to back her claims.

Kekana said she feels the party she has served since the age of 15 has failed her: “I feel the outcome was not fair on my side. I feel that my case, to a large extent, has been politicised to an extent that my pain was overlooked.”

She said she doesn’t understand what kind of evidence of sexual harassment the ANC needed.

“Sexual harassment is not like murder; it’s not like when someone puts a bullet in my head and I say this is a bullet in my head to prove it and so on. Sexual harassment is mostly about how I feel; how I felt that my rights were violated by someone I considered as a comrade and a brother.”

She said if the ANC was serious about sexual harassment, it would have dealt with its spokesperson.

She says with this ruling, the panel has given way to toxic masculinity, misogyny and patriarchy.

She adds that this gives further courage to abusive men to bully female subordinates.

Kekana says she plans to take the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

‘HOW DO I MOVE FORWARD?’

Kekana has told Eyewitness News she is devastated that the man who inflicted pain on her walks free.

This week, the ANC accepted recommendations of a grievance panel, which cleared Mabe of the allegations, saying there was no evidence to back the claims by the 26-year-old woman.

The grievance panel has recommended that Mabe and his former PA return to work, with the intention to move Kekana to another department.

But she says she won’t be okay with being in the same building with Mabe.

“I don’t think I will be comfortable. Just that building alone brings back bad memories for me.”

Overwhelmed by emotions, she explained how she feels now.

“How do I move forward when I know this is what I’ve been through... that the man who’s inflicted pain on me just walks free?”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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