ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule announced on Tuesday that Pule Mabe and Zizi Kodwa have “volunteered” to step aside as party spokespersons until their names are cleared.
Magashule confirmed this at an ANC Press conference at Luthuli House on Tuesday. The briefing followed a National Working Committee (NWC) meeting held Monday where the party’s parliamentary list was discussed, subject to vetting and expected to be released on Thursday.
And Legoete, who co-deputised Magashule as Secretary General with Senzo Mchunu, will act as the ANC’s Spokesperson until matters have been resolved.
Mabe, who recently replaced Kodwa as ANC spokesperson, stands accused of sexual harassment by his former personal assistant. And although he was later cleared by the party’s disciplinary committee, his accuser has taken her complaint to the police.
Last weekend, allegations of rape surfaced implicating Kodwa, head of the Presidency in the ANC, who was returned to the spokesperson position when Mabe was accused.
According to Magashule, both men vehemently denied the allegations and have voluntarily decided to step aside from official party positions although they still remain members of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
Magashule remarked how their decision to step aside was a mark of “good leadership”. They “feel strongly that they are innocent,” yet they were able to respect the movement and make sure “they don’t become the spokesperson(s) until the allegations” are resolved.
Be it perception or reality, the allegations affect the image of the ANC, which is a party that “stands for fairness and against violence against women”, he said.
Kodwa so far has branded the allegations as a fabrication weaponised as a political strategy by some to remove him from his position. When the allegations came out accusing Mabe, he too strongly denied the claims.
For Magashule, it is important to give a fair chance to all parties to prove their innocence as “they feel strongly that they have been hurt” but also “the women feel hurt”.
“We want to give everyone a fair chance,” said Magashule.
Legoete, who acted as spokesperson at the Tuesday press conference, said the party has noted the criticism over its lack of a sexual harassment policy and that it is currently at a draft state.
The draft policy needed to be “audited by the gender commission”, after which it will apply to all staff and ANC members.
The ANC adopted a gender policy 65 years ago when it adopted a non-sexism policy that opposes gender-based violence, domination of one sex by another and marginalisation of members of the LGBTQ community, said Legoete.
Magashule also clarified the apology the party issued over the controversy of alleged statements by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Mchunu blaming black managers for the demise of Eskom.
According to Magashule, Gordhan phoned in to deny that he ever said anything and that Mchunu was misquoted because he was referring to certain black managers at Eskom and not black professionals in general.
The secretary-general announced that the ANC met black professionals on25 Februaryat Luthuli House to reassure them that the party still supports black managers and engineers.
An agreement was made that each sector will delegate a person to work with the NEC Transformation Committee to transform the private sector.
Magashule assured the public that the party remains committed to uplifting black professionals and the principles of radical economic transformation to create an inclusive economy.
“The ANC is one and we are focusing on elections,” said Magashule. DM
"Charms strike the sight but merit wins the soul." ~ Alexander Pope