Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Johannesburg - The ANC has defended itself amid accusations that the party was not committed enough to protecting women, after it was found that it does not have a sexual harassment policy.

The party has been entangled in controversy recently after its spin doctors and national executive committee (NEC) members, Pule Mabe and Zizi Kodwa, were accused of sexual harassment and rape respectively.

Mabe was accused by his personal assistant and the party’s grievance panel subsequently cleared him before his accuser opened a criminal case against him, while Kodwa was accused of rape, which he denied.

Speaking alongside other members of the ANC’s subcommittee of social transformation, NEC member and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said while the party had admitted that it did not have a sexual harassment policy to deal with internal complaints, the party was not less committed to protecting or empowering women.

“What we should applaud and what is encouraging in the ANC is the fact that women’s issues are on the table, which does not necessarily say there are no issues,” she said.

Motshekga said the party had also created internal structures to deal with issues affecting women.

“As gender activists, we are not oblivious (to the fact) that even inside the ANC there are ongoing struggles. That is why we organise ourselves as the Women’s League and we fight for women both inside and outside the ANC.

“Within the ANC we even have a gender committee. That is an acknowledgment that the struggle still continues within the ANC,” she said.

ANC NEC member Nocawe Mafu said it was difficult for the ANC to take responsibility for the individual behaviour of ANC members and leaders, even though it affected the party.

“How ANC leaders behave is subjective, but of course how we behave will reflect on the organisation that we belong to,” Mafu said.

The social transformation subcommittee was on Sunday unpacking the ANC’s manifesto ahead of the upcoming elections.

Motshekga said the ANC would not be proposing new policies on social transformation, especially education, but would rather improve existing ones, including early childhood development (ECD).

“In the past 25 years we have been able to build a solid framework. We have built one system of education and one assessment, so the framework is there.

“What we will have to do is consolidate the things we have put in place. That is why we are advocating for a very strong ECD programme,” she said.

Political Bureau