ANC: Kodwa & Mabe agree to step aside as spokespersons

EWN earlier on Tuesday reported that the national working committee took the decision to remove ANC heavyweights Zizi Kodwa and Pule Mabe as spokespersons for now following claims of rape and sexual harassment.

FILE: ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) has confirmed its spokespersons Pule Mabe and Zizi Kodwa have agreed to step aside amid separate allegations of abuse by women pending investigations.

Earlier today Eyewitness News reported on the party's national working committee's decision to suspend the two men.

Meanwhile Kodwa - who's also head of the party's Presidency at Luthuli House - has been accused of rape - which he's dismissed as part of "a dirty tricks" campaign.

Mabe's former PA had accused him of verbally abusing her when she rebuffed his sexual advances. He denied the allegations.

Mabe was cleared of the allegations against him by the party and returned to work last week.

Mabe has released a statement saying he’s not been informed of his suspension.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule says the ruling party has accepted a request from Kodwa and Mabe to voluntarily step aside.

“Comrade Zizi [Kodwa] has requested to voluntarily step aside so that he doesn’t speak on behalf of the ANC. And Comrade Mabe has also made a request to stay at home but still work for the ANC.”

He says this move is a demonstration of good leadership.

“Even when they feel very strongly that they are innocent; they felt that in assisting and respecting the movement and dealing with these allegations, they have to make sure that they're not the spokesperson of the party until the allegations have been tested.”

Magashule has not given a timeline of how long the two will step aside for and how the allegations against them will be tested.

In the meantime, Dakota Legoete will remain the party’s voice.

At the same time, the ANC says it is committed to fighting gender-based violence and says it’s treating the allegations of abuse against its spokespeople with the seriousness they deserve.

Magashule says the men have been given space to sort themselves out.

“Of course, be it perception or real, such matters do affect the base of the ANC. That’s why we want to give confidence to South Africans to say the ruling party stands for the truth.”

He says the party will not judge them.