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Pule Mabe: ANC hasn't informed me of suspension as spokesperson

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Pule Mabe said that the matter of his suspension after allegations of sexual harassment had not been brought to his attention.

FILE: Pule Mabe. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) heavyweight Pule Mabe says he is not aware that he has been removed as party spokesperson by the national working committee (NWC) .

In a statement released on Tuesday, he said: "Today I woke up to interesting and sensational media reports that quoted those who purport to be ANC NWC insiders who are said to have confirmed that I have been suspended as ANC National Spokesperson. For the record, at the time of issuing this public statement such a matter had not been brought to my attention. have been removed as spokespersons for now."

It’s understood that Mabe’s removal was effected because while he has been cleared of sexual harassing his former personal assistant by the party’s grievance panel, his accuser has now laid a criminal complaint against him.

Rape allegations against fellow spokesperson Zizi Kodwa emerged on Saturday after the ANC confirmed it received a letter from a woman making the claims.

Eyewitness News understands that the ANC’s NWC took the decision for Kodwa and Mabe to step down and for Dakota Legoete to continue as the acting spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the ANC has announced that its secretary-general Ace Magashule will address the media at 1pm today on the outcomes of the NWC meeting held on Monday.

Read Pule Mabe's statement below:

STATEMENT ON MEDIA LEAKS AROUND MY SUSPENSION AS ANC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON - PULE MABE

26 Feb 2019

Today I woke up to interesting and sensational media reports that quoted those who purport to be ANC NWC insiders who are said to have confirmed that I have been suspended as ANC National Spokesperson. For the record, at the time of issuing this public statement such a matter had not been brought to my attention.

It is not in my nature to entertain slander and to borrow from the novel by the late renowned African Writer, Chinua Achebe - “Things fall Apart” -, things indeed seem to be falling apart with what appears to be a complete disregard to one's right to dignity.

Last year when allegations of sexual harassment were brought against me, I voluntarily, and on my own accord, took leave and restated at the time my position that I will never violate women in any form.

I wish to reiterate that I respect, preserve and uphold the rights of women and have never sexually harassed anyone in my entire life.

I subjected myself to the process my movement, the ANC, had set up in order to establish the facts and make a determination on the matter.

Throughout the process I had maintained my innocence and never spoke about the merits or demerits of the complaint itself.

The grievance panel set up by the Secretary General's Office (SGO) has since concluded its work.

The ANC subsequently issued a statement clearing me of any acts of sexual harassment.

Soon afterwards, the complainant embarked on a door-to-door to various media houses to publicly state her displeasure about a process initiated at her own request. It is understandable for a matter such as this to attract media attention because sexual harassment is a serious matter and leaders are expected to be exemplary at all material times.

As an advocate of press freedom myself, I will never take issue with journalists for doing their work, especially in our country where some amongst us are “newsroom agents” and probably conduct tele-conferences with news desks before diary meetings - a hard reality.

I restrained myself from making any public statements.

If true the latest leaks to the extent that I have been suspended and whose details I am not privy to as yet will be interesting.

The position of the National Spokesperson of the ANC is one prescribed by the Communications Protocols
These protocols are an outcome of ANC 54th National conference and occupy the same status as any other conference resolution.

Unfortunately I must now speak for myself and protect my family from further humiliation.

I have never sexually harassed anyone and will subject myself even to the highest court in the land to prove my innocence.

I will not allow my name to be used to pursue nefarious agendas whose sole motive is character assassination.
Even during the hearing, I have been available to answer every question that might have arisen.

For the sake of our society and given the magnitude and seriousness of allegations of sexual harassment, I will be writing to the organization to request that they make the transcripts of the grievance panel proceedings in the form of oral and written evidence available for public consumption.

I have avoided to fall for conspiracy theories when the rumour mill suggested that some of our members in our NEC will reject the outcomes of the hearing. It did bother me because the truth will never change.

If the latest media leaks are anything to go by then the latest developments are interesting.

I have always had faith in my organizational leadership structures to always act rationally, objectively and fairly.
In the intervening period I have requested the organization to allow me to extent my leave and to fully recover from the strain this whole episode has subjected me to.

I am also thankful to my Church - African Methodist Episcopal - Mokone Memorial - in Pimville Soweto under Pastor Mkwanazi to have agreed to offer both myself and my family Pastoral Counseling during this period which is slowly asserting our own inner peace and also in compliance with recommendations of the panel to undergo such counseling.

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