The Western Cape government has ordered that Equal Education “cease operations” at schools around the province until they meet to discuss a way forward, following a string of sexual harassment allegations made against the organisation.
In a statement released on Monday, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said that the allegations of sexual harassment — revealed last week by the Mail & Guardian — were “most concerning”.
Former general secretary Tshepo Motsepe, former head of national organising Luyolo Mazwembe, and co-founder and former treasurer Doron Isaacs are all facing separate sexual harassment allegations, which they deny. None of the allegations in the public domain relate to school children or minors.
“Equal Education works in schools across the province, and whilst at least some of the allegations appear to be from people within the staff of the organisation, it is not clear whether any learners are involved. In addition, if the allegations are correct, this is hardly the type of person we need working in our schools,” Schäfer said.
She said she had written to Equal Education requesting that they furnish her with the details regarding “every interview or engagement” conducted by Motsepe, Mazwembe and Isaacs in the past year with any female learner. Schäfer said she has requested the names of learners, the schools they attend, the date of the interviews and who was present during the interviews, by Friday.
“Sexual abuse against young female learners is prevalent in our communities, as raised by Equal Education on a number of occasions, and it is distressing that such allegations have been made against high ranking members of their own organisation,” she said.
Equal Education has responded to Schäfer’s request to suspend the organisation’s operations in Western Cape schools, calling it unclear and unjustified.
Read the full statement below: