Senior Equal Education manager dismissed following ‘jobs for sex’ scandal

Luyolo Mazwembe (centre) had initially admitted to a lesser charge of harassment. (Polokwane Observer)

Luyolo Mazwembe (centre) had initially admitted to a lesser charge of harassment. (Polokwane Observer)

The former head of national organising at Equal Education has been dismissed from the organisation following allegations of offering jobs for sex.

“The hearing recommended summary dismissal as the appropriate sanction and we have implemented this sanction,” Equal Education wrote in a statement to the Mail & Guardian.

The organisation had contracted outside counsel to preside over the disciplinary hearing. Luyolo Mazwembe was found guilty of sexual harassment.

A 10-year veteran of the education campaigners, Mazwembe worked in the Western Cape office before moving to Johannesburg in 2016.

READ MORE: Equal Education hit by another sexual misconduct case

Senior management had been investigating allegations levelled against former Equal Education general secretary Tshepo Motsepe when they became aware of the complaint against Mazwembe.

The organising head was suspended pending an investigation and subsequently resigned on May 6. But Equal Education decided to hold him to his notice period in order to hold a disciplinary investigation into the allegations.

“We indicated to the chair of the independent hearing that the organisation was seeking a dismissal because we do not want responsibility for conduct of this nature to be avoided by a resignation. We also want to ensure that the findings on Luyolo’s conduct are kept on record at EE. Moreover, we wanted to give the complainant the opportunity to face Luyolo and hold him accountable as they had requested,” the statement read.

Mazwembe had initially admitted to a lesser charge of harassment, denying he had offered anyone a job in exchange for sex, saying he had exchanged romantic notes with a volunteer that were not unwelcome.

READ MORE: Equal Education grapples with ‘toxic’ culture

In April this year the overall head of Equal Education, Motsepe, resigned following ‘several allegations’ of sexual harassment against him. Motsepe has denied the claims.

Co-founder and former treasurer at Equal Education Doron Isaacs also resigned after the M&G revealed that some within the organisation were dissatisfied with the way allegations of sexual harassment against Isaacs were dealt with — with close friends of Isaacs constituting the investigating panel. Equal Education has also subsequently voiced “serious concerns” as to the manner in which the 2011 investigation was conducted. 

Beauregard Tromp

Beauregard Tromp

Beauregard Tromp is a multi-award winning journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard who has worked at major publications throughout South Africa. Beauregard spent six years as an Africa correspondent, narrating stories from nearly 40 countries. He is the author of Hani: A Life Too Short and most recently won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award and Sikuvile Award for his work on xenophobia. He is the deputy editor of the M&G. Read more from Beauregard Tromp

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