Equal Education meets with WC education dept over sexual harassment claims

Equal Education (EE) members have met with various members of the Western Cape education department to discuss the recent developments around allegations of sexual harassment within the organisation and their ongoing work in the province.

The organisation says it now has three separate processes currently running to investigate allegations of sexual harassment, following the shock resignation of three senior members of the organisation amid growing claims of misconduct.

Treasurer Doron Isaacs, former general secretary Tshepo Motsepe and former head of national organising Luyolo Mazwembe, all resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment earlier this month.

READ MORE: Scandal-hit NGO opens three probes

Western Cape EE head, Noncedo Madudube, said a delegation from EE, which included elected leadership committee members, Madudube, deputy head Ntsiki Dlulane, and EE interim national co-ordinator Leanne Jansen-Thomas had met with Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, head of department Brian Schreuder, and other staff from the Western Cape education department (WCED).


This followed after Schäfer had called for members of EE, who were not pupils, not to participate in any activity on school premises until the education department could clarify the extent to which men from the organisation had interacted with pupils at schools this year.

She also wanted to know what measures were in place to vet its members.

READ MORE: Donors pause Equal Education funding after sexual harassment scandal

Madudube said EE had assured the WCED that they had strict sexual harassment policies in place and that they had acted swiftly to address every sexual harassment allegation that has been put before it.

She said the three separate processes included an independent panel that would look into allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Motshepe.

READ MORE: Social justice organisations are not squeaky clean, and we must do better

“The panel may investigate any other matter that arises as part of the process or refer it to the broader assessment process mentioned below,” said Madudube.

A second independent panel would investigate sexual harassment allegations against Isaacs.

“EE’s National Council has also resolved to establish a broader assessment process, which will examine EEs record of dealing with mistreatment in the workplace, as well as EE’s policies, procedures and organisational culture in regard to harassment, and power dynamics,” said Madudube.

Madudube said the three men had “no regular direct interaction” with learners, and that, as soon as allegations emerged, EE’s current leadership had ensured that they were prevented from any possible engagement.

Madudube said the meeting had concluded on a positive note, with matters clarified regarding school-based activities and the seriousness with which EE has approached issues of sexual harassment.

“It was agreed that there should at this stage be no obstacle to EE members continuing to organise in the Western Cape,” she said.

Madudube said they had resolved to meet with the WCED again, once the investigations into sexual harassment have been concluded.

RIGHT OF REPLY: We are looking inward — Equal Education

“We care deeply about our core mission — the struggle for access to quality education for all — and we will continue to fight for equitable education in the Western Cape,” she said. — News24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Time the state drilled down into water scarcity at schools

When the hard lockdowns kicked in it was discovered that 3 000 schools didn’t have an adequate water supply. But this is not a new problem

Open schools mean full tummies as feeding schemes resume

About four in five learners in the country’s poorest schools rely on the one meal they receive at school, but they weren’t able to get it for more than four months, during which child hunger increased because of the pandemic

Advocacy group takes department to court over school nutrition programme

Equal Education wants the court to get the basic education department to feed all learners who qualify for the programme, including those who are not back at school

Very few believe provincial education departments are suddenly efficient

Ordinary citizens have not forgotten that schools were failing before the virus crisis

Build infrastructure to support the fourth industrial revolution

Technology has the potential to solve many of the country’s social problems such as electricity production and the eradication of pit latrines

NGOs today: Competing for resources, power and agency

NGOs play a critical role in advancing social change and transformation, but their current funding model needs to be addressed for them to make a sustainable impact in South Africa
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Baby Awa: The miracle baby born on a boat fleeing...

More than 300 000 people in the north of the country have been displaced by militants who ransack villages and then burn them down.

Five suspects arrested in Senzo Meyiwa case

Police minister Bheki Cela announced on Monday that his team has arrested five suspects who were allegedly involved in the killing of former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.

EFF eyes municipalities ahead of 2021 local government elections

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party is preparing to govern in many municipalities from next year. It is also launching a programme to defend the rights of farm workers

WSU suspends classes and exams to avoid the spread of...

The university says it has to take the precautionary measures because 26 students have tested positive on its East London campus
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday