Picture: Pule Mabe | source: politicalanalysis
Surprise, surprise, I do not know which one is the real shocker here.
Pule Mabe not found guilty of sexual harassment allegations or the ANC not having a sexual harassment policy? To be Africa’s oldest liberation movement and not have a sexual harassment policy is embarrassing. This simply illustrates that the party has no interest in being a non-sexist organisation, a protector of women and children in the country. One can just conclude that indeed the ANC has a misogynistic culture. What happened to the party that OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela represented with pride? Men were seen as leaders of society who provide and protect their families.
The party seems to have lost its moral compass which begs the question of what is the role of ANC Women’s League if there are no policies that safe guard women? Is it not their role to ensure that women, especially those working at Lithuli House and other ANC office branches are protected from sexual predation? Bathabile Dlamini and co are letting women down. Honestly, if the ANC and the ANCWL need South Africans to take them seriously, the sexual policy issue must be dealt with urgently.
The ruling that Mabe is not guilty is just unfortunate and shows that the party continues to be an enemy of a just and non-sexist society we pray for. It was always gonna be ‘difficult’ to find a powerful individual like Mabe guilty of this crime, especially when the accuser is a junior and a woman. Men in the ruling party continue to get a free pass in cases related to sexual and physical abuse. Former Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana beat up a woman at a night club and MP Mervyn Dicks assaulted a fellow ANC MP in Parliament.
The unfortunate reality is that Mabe will resume his duties as a spokesperson for the party, while her accuser will surely be without a job. The ANC needs to be punished for having no regard for women’s rights and women have a golden opportunity to do so in the upcoming May 8 elections.
For past 25 years of our young democracy women entrusted the ANC with the responsibility to drive the agenda of ridding society with violence that is directed to them and children. However, the party has failed dismally in this task and must reap what they sow. To date, women and children are the most vulnerable citizens in our country, because the ANC led government is doing absolutely nothing to protect them. Instead of protecting them, the party perpetuates the stigma by ruling in Mabe’s favour.
While the sexual harassment policy should cover both men and women, the main tenets of that policy should focus on protecting the latter, because women continue to be victims of sexual harassment in the work environment.