Johannesburg - “Challenging a powerful man, and now the ANC, pains me. I wish a fair conclusion had been reached.”
These were the strained words of Kgoerano Kekana, the 26-year-old woman who accused ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe of egregious sexual harassment.
Mabe has consistently denied the claims, and the governing party absolved him of any wrongdoing due to “a lack of evidence” after the party had held an internal investigation, which was chaired by National Executive Committee (NEC) member Thoko Didiza.
This comes as Kekana has confirmed that she still has not decided whether or not she will accept the ANC’s offer for her to return to her previous post as Mabe’s personal assistant.
“I am waiting for a definitive offer based on different options presented to me,” Kekana told The Star, adding that the governing party was still paying her a salary.
Kekana was speaking on Thursday shortly after she and her representatives met with the ANC’s human resources department in what The Star understands was a meeting akin to a mediation.
Kekana, in a widely-circulated grievance letter which was initially sent to the ANC’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, had alleged that she had been “repeatedly harassed” by Mabe, adding that this happened inside a hotel room in Tshwane.
Kekana said that, subsequent to her turning down Mabe’s alleged overtures, her salary was cut down to R15 000 a month – without saying how much she had been earning.
Asked Thursday whether the contentions were fair that she would not have complained had her salary not being cut, Kgoerano rubbished these claims.
“I have endured harassment for a long time. I was just glad to have a job as I was struggling to pay bills and my outstanding college fees. Working with Pule became unbearable hence my grievance,” she asserted.
“I do not take this matter lightly. Challenging a powerful man, and now the ANC, pains me. I wish a fair conclusion had been reached because this is taking its toll on me emotionally and psychologically,” the young woman added.
In a statement released earlier on Thursday, Kekana laid into the ANC as a party which “gives further courage to abusive men to bully female subordinates”.
The ANC publicly admitted that it has no definitive sexual harassment policy, and recommended that it be established.