Johannesburg - ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe has taken leave pending the outcome of the grievance procedure against him.
Mabe has been accused of sexual harassment by a 26-year-old woman who worked as his personal assistant.
The ANC confirmed on Monday that a complaint was lodged with the party’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte by the young woman.
The matter is set to be heard by a grievance panel later this week.
The complainant said she was employed by Mabe earlier this year despite him knowing that she had no qualifications. The ANC's Human Resources department was also aware of this, she claims.
The unnamed woman, who is said to be an ANC Youth League member, said she was harassed by Mabe while they were on a work assignment.
She described two incidents where Mabe had acted inappropriately and visited her room and even climbed into her bed.
The woman said when she rejected Mabe's advances, his attitude towards her changed. He started becoming aggressive towards her and made her working life miserable. Things were made worse when Mabe cut her salary by R15 000
Mabe’s decision to take leave follows pressure from some members of the ANC.
The ANC’s Women’s League said it would meet with secretary general Ace Magashule and ask for Mabe to be placed on suspension while the matter is being investigated.
The former ANC Youth League leader said he had taken the decision to take leave to ensure integrity and fairness.
“Today I wrote to the secretary general of the ANC, Ace Magashule, requesting that I be allowed to take leave until such time that the internal processes of attending to an internal grievance brought against me on serious allegations of, amongst other things, sexual harassment, are completed.
“I have taken this decision in order to ensure integrity and fairness in the said internal processes and to remove any possibility of any perceived interference in or influence of such processes.
"It is only fair and/or prudent that when we are faced with such serious allegations we put the interest of the organisation first and allow ourselves to attend to matters of concern without constraining the integrity and standing of the movement,” Mabe said in a statement on Tuesday.
Speaking to Independent Media on Monday, Mabe described the sexual harassment allegations as false. “I respect the rights of women and will never do anything in my power to violate those rights. I was raised by a single mother and I know what it means to protect and preserve the rights of women,” he said. “It is located within the very values and principles I carry as an individual and as an activist.”
Mabe said the recruitment of the complainant was a part of boosting the work of his office.
“I believe in the energy of young people, whether they are young men or young women, so bringing that kind of a team to work within the department of information and publicity of the ANC was an important step towards nurturing talent and making sure that the movement could be able to invest rightly in the future,” he said.
“If there are instances when certain allegations are raised, we make ourselves available to attend to those. I am subjecting myself to the process that my organisation has already defined and I will participate and cooperate fully,” Mabe said.