Johannesburg - The ANC has indicated that it will push for immediate criminal prosecution of employees who are implicated in allegations of rape and sexual assault.
On Sunday, the party released its draft policies on sexual harassment and bullying for its employees for public comment.
In December last year, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe stepped down from his position after his personal assistant accused him of sexual harassment and of cutting her salary, allegedly because of her rejecting his sexual advances.
The ANC cleared Mabe last month after a grievance panel set up to deal with the allegation found him not guilty.
The panel, however, recommended that the ANC immediately develop and implement an internal policy on sexual harassment.
ANC head of presidency Zizi Kodwa also had to step down from his position as the party’s spokesperson after a woman accused him of rape.
The draft policy says in allegations of rape and sexual assault, the victims must be immediately advised and assisted to report the matter to the police.
“Whether such an allegation is made by a fellow employee, an ANC member, or any other person, whether it has been formally reported to the police or not, the matter shall immediately be referred to the Integrity Commission, to determine whether the actions of the employee have undermined the integrity of the party or brought the organisation into disrepute, and to make a ruling,” the policy reads.
The ANC indicated that its NEC would adopt the policy this month.
ANC acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete said discussions with the ANC Women’s League and party staff at provincial and national level were currently under way to ensure that their input was considered.
“The ANC also plans to solicit the input of the Commission for Gender Equality on the policy before presentation to the national working committee and NEC for adoption by the end of March,” Legoete said.
In the draft policy, complainants will be allowed to press criminal charges or civil claims against respondents even if the internal process is still under way.
“The legal rights of any party are in no way limited by this policy,” it reads.
It also says: “The ANC has an interest in the off-duty conduct of an employee with regards to sexual harassment and bullying, where the conduct of the employee impacts on the integrity of the ANC, or the conduct brings the brand of the ANC into disrepute, or is of such a nature that employment cannot continue.”