Panel got it all wrong on Mabe

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe was cleared of sexual harassment charges after the ruling party's grievance panel ruled there was no evidence against him.

When the panel - comprising national executive committee (NEC) members Sdumo Dlamini, Thoko Didiza and two others - reached this conclusion did they consider the power relations between the suspect and the victim?

Mabe, by virtue of being party spokesperson and also an NEC member, is a powerful figure and was the young woman's boss.

How was she supposed to kick him out of her hotel room at night as he worked, apparently worried he would fall asleep alone in his room.

How did Mabe explain the allegation that on the woman's second day in the job, he allegedly worked from her room again until she fell asleep, only for her to wake up and find him in her bed with his legs on top of her?

How did the panel not find evidence of harassment in all this?

Why were party elders - not Dlamini and Didiza, who are still active in politics and therefore susceptible to influence - not appointed to the ruling party's grievance panel?

What are the chances of the two having considered party or some other undeclared interests when they cleared Mabe?

Had they ruled against him, was that decision not going to affect the interests of some grouping or the other in the ANC?

To its credit, the panel recommended that the ANC must, within three months, "adopt a sexual harassment policy, and do training for all its management and staff in offices throughout the country on this policy".

Shockingly, how did a party that prides itself in upholding gender equality not have a sexual harassment policy?

When does the ANC uphold gender equality?

Is it only through lip service but does not look after the rights of individuals within the organisation?

If not, how else does it explain not having a sexual harassment policy in 2019?

It is about time all political parties stopped talking tough on sexual harassment while women continue to suffer within their ranks but fail to take action against powerful individuals.

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