Jele has donned the captain’s armband for the past two seasons following the departure of Oupa Manyisa and has enjoyed a consistent presence in Milutin Sredojevic’s side.
With many of the club’s seniors from the double-treble era having moved on, the 31-year-old is the club’s longest-serving member at present.
However, his soft-spoken approach has been questioned on a number of occasions, given the club's failure to deliver tangible success under his reign.
Former Bucs skipper Lucky Lekgwathi recently offered some advice to the utility defender, but Mabalane understands why Jele has been handed the leadership role, while highlighting the key attributes that may have contributed to the appointment.
“Happy is not the outspoken, typical kind of captain. Happy is a lot like Oupa, and many people said the exact same thing about him,” Mabalane tells KickOff.com.
“Oupa was worse, in fact. He’s very quiet and he still managed to lead the team as captain, so clearly, they have a way of selecting their captains [at Pirates].
“I’m sure Happy was chosen because he’s been at the club for a while and he can be a consistent performer, so in that sense he deserves to be captain.
“Normally you do want someone who is going to be assertive and aggressive to push the players and be vocal on the field, and that’s not something you’ll get from Happy.
“But he has got other qualities that can contribute to the team and qualifies him to be captain, and I don’t think it’s a major problem in my view. For me, that’s just a minor issue that won’t really contribute to how they perform.”
‘Terminator’, as the diminutive 38-year-old former winger is affectionately known, also feels not many other players in the current setup qualify as captaincy candidates, given that many have only recently arrived at the club.
“If you look at the other players, who would you rather put in that position? Because they’ve tried [Thabo] Matlaba but something obviously happened there, and he was out of the team, so you need someone who will be a regular and knows the ins and outs of the club,” he adds.
“I can’t think of any other player that has the attributes to lead the team because it’s mostly new players at Pirates now.”