Equal Education hit by another sexual misconduct case

Another case of misconduct against Equal Education’s management member Luyolo Mazwembe, is being investigated by the organisation after he allegedly offered a “job for sex” to a volunteer.

According to interim National Coordinator of EE, Leanne Jansen-Thomas, the senior management team (SMT) became aware of a single complaint of “serious misconduct” against a member of Equal Education’s broader management team. This was while looking into allegations levelled against former General Secretary, Tshepo Motsepe.

READ MORE: “Several women” allege sexual harassment against Equal Education boss

“After having interviewed the complainant, the SMT took the decision to suspend the staff member pending further investigation. While suspended, he wrote to the SMT to admit partial wrongdoing, and to tender his resignation from Equal Education. However, the SMT resolved to investigate further in pursuit of complete accountability, and that investigation is ongoing,” she said.

While Equal Education did not elaborate on the nature of the serious misconduct, Mazwembe explained the nature of the charges to the Mail & Guardian.

Mazwembe, the former Head of National Organising, said he had admitted to “sending notes” and “promising a romantic relationship” to a volunteer, but did not admit to the final charge of “offering a job in exchange for sex”.

“The notes were not unwanted, she sent her own notes and a relationship was accepted by both her and I. It was wanted so it not sexual harassment but misconduct,” he said.

The person to whom the charges relate could not be reached at the time of publication.

Mazwembe has been at EE since 2008 at the Western Cape office and moved to Johannesburg in 2016.

On Monday, Equal Education released a statement saying its former head had resigned after allegations of sexual harassment. The statement said that the organisation was committed to dealing with mistreatment in the workplace, and the organisational norms and culture “in a just and transparent manner”. However the organisation did not mention Mazwembe’s investigation in its Monday statement.

Jansen-Thomas said this was because Equal Education had “not yet concluded the investigation into his conduct, and the statement issued by the National Council of Equal Education on Monday evening was related specifically to the inquiry into allegations against the head of Equal Education”.

The former head of EE, Motsepe, resigned last month after several women alleged they were sexually harassed by him. This is being denied by Motsepe.

The M&G is continuing to investigate this story, and other allegations of sexual harassment in the NGO sector. If you have any more information, please contact Rumana Akoob on [email protected] All communication will be treated in complete confidence.

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Rumana Akoob
Rumana Akoob is a former investigative journalist who is now an activist and communications specialist

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