‘I didn’t chicken out,’ says Mabe ac­cuser af­ter fail­ing to at­tend hear­ing

The Witness - - NEWS -

THE­ woman­ who­ has­ ac­cused­ ANCspokesper­son­ Pule­ Mabe­ of­ sex­ual­ ha­rass­men­thas­ de­nied­ that­ be­ing­ un­ableto­ at­tend­ his­ hear­ing­ this­ week­ is­proof­ that­ she­ has­ cold­ feet­ over­ her­claims.

News24­ un­der­stands­ she­ told­ theANC­ this­ week­ that­ she­ was­ not­ avail­ableto­ ap­pear­ at­ the­ sec­ond­ sit­tin­gof­ a­ com­mis­sion­ into­ the­ sex­ual­ ha­rass­ment­claims­ she­ lev­elled­ again­stMabe­ in­ De­cem­ber­ 2018.

“I­ am­ shocked­ that­ Pule­ wen­ta­gainst­ the­ wishes­ of­ the­ ANC­ and­ re­vealedthat­ the­ hear­ing­ was­ meant­ tosit­ to­day,”­ said­ his­ for­mer­ per­sonal­ as­sis­tant,when­ con­tacted­ for­ com­mentby­ News24.

Mabe,­ who­ had­ been­ meet­ing­ with­com­mu­nity­ mem­bers­ and­ cam­paigningin­ Ntuzuma,­ KwaZulu-Natal,­ ahead­ ofthe­ ANC’s­ elec­tion­ man­i­festo­ launch­to­mor­row,­ con­firmed­ to­ jour­nal­ist­sthat­ the­ sec­ond­ sit­ting­ of­ his­ hear­ing­ had­ been­ post­poned.

“As­ I­ said­ to­ some­ jour­nal­ists­ whoasked­ over­ the­ week­end,­ we­ were­sup­posed­ to­ sit­ to­day­ [Wednesday],but­ there­ was­ a­ post­pone­ment­ at­ theeleventh­ hour­ at­ the­ re­quest­ of­ the­com­plainant,”­ Mabe­ said.

He­ re­it­er­ated­ his­ com­mit­ment­ to­wardsa­ speedy­ res­o­lu­tion,­ in­sist­ing­ hewas­ ready­ to­ plead­ his­ case­ to­ thecom­mit­tee,­ which­ is­ made­ up­ of­ se­nior­party­ lead­ers,­ in­clud­ing­ Thoko­ Didizaand­ Sdumo­ Dlamini.

How­ever,­ the­ woman­ ex­plained­ toNews24­ that­ she­ could­ not­ agree­ tothe­ sec­ond­ sit­ting­ know­ing­ full­ wellthat­ she­ would­ not­ be­ able­ to­ make­ itto­ the­ meet­ing.

“It­ was­ com­mu­ni­cated­ to­ me­ late­and­ I­ al­ready­ had­ fam­ily­ com­mit­ments,I­ am­ only­ in­ Dur­ban­ for­ ANCcel­e­bra­tions­ from­ Thursday­ [yes­ter­day],so­ it­ would­ not­ have­ made­sense­ to­ agree­ to­ a­ date­ where­ I­ knew­ I­ wouldn’t­ be­ avail­able,”­ ex­plainedMabe’s­ for­mer­ PA.

“It’s­ not­ true­ that­ I’ve­ chick­ened­out,­ be­cause­ had­ I­ chick­ened­ out­ Iwould­ not­ have­ re­ported­ the­ mat­terto­ the­ po­lice.”

Both­ Mabe­ and­ his­ for­mer­ as­sis­tantre­fused­ to­ dis­cuss­ the­ ac­tual­ case,with­ Mabe­ say­ing­ he­ had­ no­ right­ todis­cuss­ the­ mer­its­ of­ the­ case,­ andthe­ 26-year-old­ woman­ say­ing­ she­would­ re­spect­ the­ ANC’s­ re­quest­ notto­ speak­ about­ the­ mat­ter.

The­ woman,­ who­ de­scribed­ workingin­ Mabe’s­ of­fice­ as­ the­ “most­ hor­ri­ble­four­ months”­ of­ her­ life,­ sub­mit­ted­ a14-page­ let­ter­ de­tail­ing­ the­ al­leged­sex­ual­ harassment,­ which­ started­ fromthe­ very­ first­ as­sign­ment­ she­ worke­don­ with­ Mabe.

She­ claimed­ the­ ANC­ spokesper­son­forced­ him­self­ into­ her­ bed­ on­ twooc­ca­sions­ last­ year.

She­ also­ claimed­ her­ re­jec­tion­ of­ his­ ad­vances­ re­sulted­ in­ her­ be­ing­ ill­treat­edby­ Mabe,­ hav­ing­ her­ salary­ cu­tand­ even­tu­ally­ be­ing­ moved­ from­ the­role.

It’s­ un­der­stood­ Mabe­ has­ ar­guedthat­ his­ for­mer­ as­sis­tant­ lied­ abouther­ qual­i­fi­ca­tions­ be­fore­ she­ was­ ap­point­ed­for­ the­ job.

When­ asked­ if­ he­ be­lieved­ those­who­ said­ this­ mat­ter­ was­ po­lit­i­cal,Mabe­ said­ he­ was­ not­ “in­ter­ested­ inthat”,­ but­ if­ there­ was­ a­ po­lit­i­cal­ hand,they­ were­ go­ing­ to­ be­ “shocked­ an­dem­bar­rassed”.

“It’s­ very­ im­por­tant­ in­ mat­ters­ likethis­ that­ we­ al­low­ truths­ and­ facts­ topre­vail.­ I­ want­ to­ tell­ the­ peo­ple­ ofSouth­ Africa­ the­ truth,­ and­ facts­ will­pre­vail­ in­ this­ mat­ter,”­ said­ Mabe.

The­ ANC­ spokesper­son,­ who­ is­ cur­rent­lyon­ leave­ from­ that­ role­ pend­ingthe­ out­come­ of­ the­ in­quiry,­ al­sostrongly­ de­nied­ claims­ that­ he­ and­ his­former­ as­sis­tant­ had­ an­ in­ti­mate­ re­la­tion­ship­ of­ sorts­ in­ the­ past. “That’s­ hog­wash,”­ ex­claimed­ Mabe. He­ in­sisted­ that­ he­ and­ the­ com­plainantre­lated­ to­ each­ other­ as­com­rades,­ who­ had­ a­ re­spect­ful­ and­de­cent­ re­la­tion­ship­ with­ one­ an­other.

“Some­thing­ like­ that­ doesn’t­ ex­ist,will­ never­ ex­ist,­ can’t­ ex­ist.­ We­ re­lateas­ com­rades,”­ said­ Mabe.

He­ ac­knowl­edged­ see­ing­ a­ num­berof­ mes­sages­ cir­cu­lat­ing­ on­ so­cial­ me­dia,in­clud­ing­ texts­ which­ some­ claimto­ have­ been­ sent­ by­ Mabe­ to­ his­former­ PA,­ but­ he­ said­ these­ were­ al­l­lies.

“The­ mis­take­ they­ made­ is­ they­ usean­ 083­ num­ber­ I’ve­ never­ had.­ It­doesn’t­ mat­ter­ how­ many­ times­ yous­peak­ about­ that,­ it’s­ a­ lie,”­ saidMabe.

The­ woman­ told­ News24­ a­ new­date­ for­ the­ hear­ing­ has­ been­ set­ and­she­ would­ make­ her­self­ avail­able­ forit.­

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