Pule Mabe hits back at sex pest 'lies'

ANC spin doctor says former PA fabricated her CV and more

16 December 2018 - 00:03
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe is accused of sexual harassment by a woman whose pay was cut, he says, for legitimate reasons.
Image: Antonio Muchave ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe is accused of sexual harassment by a woman whose pay was cut, he says, for legitimate reasons.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe has labelled the sexual harassment allegations levelled at him by his former personal assistant lies and fabrications.

Mabe, who has taken leave of absence from his spin-doctor duties, faced an ANC grievance committee on Wednesday to answer the sexual harassment allegations.

His former PA accused him of emotionally abusing her and cutting her salary to R15,000 after she rejected his sexual advances.

In his responding affidavit, presented to the committee - which the Sunday Times has seen - Mabe says he reduced the salary of his 26-year-old accuser because she made "fraudulent misrepresentations" about her qualifications.

In the former PA's CV, a copy of which the Sunday Times has also seen, she claims to have a diploma in public relations from Varsity College, completed in 2015.

She also lists a higher certificate in business management from Regenesys Business School, completed in 2017, which she would only receive in October 2018.

Mabe says what prompted him to verify her qualifications was her "consistent poor performance" and failure to produce proof of qualifications.

"There was a consistent pattern of poor performance in respect of the tasks that I would assign to the complainant. I decided to verify her qualifications and asked her to provide copies thereof, this being something that she previously promised to do. Her response was to stop coming to work regularly, and insulting me on social media."

Mabe says he made inquiries at two colleges at which the woman claimed to have studied.

In a letter to Mabe, Varsity College states: "Please accept this letter as confirmation that [his former PA] was a registered full-time student at the IIE Varsity College from the year 2012 to 2014. The student did not complete or graduate from the IIE Diploma in Public Relations."

An academic record Mabe says he obtained from Regenesys reveals the woman passed only one of the three modules she was registered for in 2016.

"I was advised that the complainant did not have any of the qualifications she had professed to have. I immediately approached HR to arrange a meeting with her to take appropriate disciplinary action. It was only after the meeting that a decision was taken to reduce the complainant's salary," he says.

In a letter addressed to ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, the former PA lists several incidents of alleged sexual harassment. She writes that Mabe booked a room for her at the Saint George Hotel in Pretoria under the pretence that the two would be doing ANC work.

"I arrived at [the hotel] and was then asked by comrade Pule to make reservations for two rooms at the non-sharing section (I don't really know how to classify the rooms but they are the ones on the side of the bar at St George's). I was given his card and went to make reservations only to find one room available," the former PA writes to Duarte.

She says on the first night, Mabe came to work in her room and at some point asked her to sit closer to him.

She claims that on the second night, Mabe insisted on working on his assignment in her room, saying he would fall asleep if he was alone.

It was on that night, the former PA claims, that Mabe switched off the lights, slipped under her blankets and put his legs on top of her body. She writes: "… until such a time I think sleep defeated me and was out; until such a time I felt so hot and woke up, to my surprise, the lights were all completely off, blankets on me and comrade Pule's legs on top of my body.

"I immediately snapped and asked why he was in my blankets…"

But Mabe denied all the allegations against him and has hit back, claiming to have uncovered more false claims made by his accuser on further inspection of her CV.

"It is very clear that the sole purpose of making these allegations is the fact that in light of the complainant not having performed her function, a decision was taken to reduce her salary," Mabe says in his affidavit.

Contacted for comment, Mabe confirmed having appeared before the grievance committee but said the matter was internal.

Numerous phone calls and messages sent to his former PA went answered.