Equal Education staff accuse boss of being a sex pest
While protesting his innocence‚ Equal Education general secretary Tshepo Motsepe has resigned after being accused of sexual harassment.
An independent panel will now investigate the assertions made against him by some women staff at the civil society organisation.
The women will be offered counselling in the interim.
Confirming the "difficult developments"‚ EE said it was making a public statement "in the interest of openness and transparency".
"We're determined to act with integrity and sensitivity‚" the organisation said.
The allegations against Motsepe were disclosed to members of EE’s senior management team on April 18.
The women who came forward are EE staff.
"We have been deeply distressed by these developments. We are resolute in our commitment to dealing with this matter in a just and transparent manner‚" EE said.
A preliminary investigation was conducted‚ and a formal complaint was then submitted to EE’s National Council‚ the movement’s highest decision-making structure‚ on April 24.
On that day‚ it resolved that a panel was to be appointed to assess the allegations against Motsepe.
"On Wednesday 25 April‚ he tendered his resignation. He has not accepted wrongdoing at this stage‚ and the National Council has resolved to continue with the appointment of an independent panel to investigate the allegations‚" EE said.
The panel members are: Mercia Andrews (chairperson) – Co-Director of the Trust for Community Outreach and Education; Madoda Cuphe – Director of Programmes at the Alternative Information and Development Centre; and Clare Ballard – Attorney at Lawyers for Human Rights.
A separate‚ broader assessment process will also be set up to examine EE’s record of dealing with mistreatment in the workplace‚ EE’s policies and procedures in regard to sexual harassment‚ and the organisational norms and culture which currently exist at EE‚ it said.
"EE aims to create an environment that believes and supports women when they bring forward claims of mistreatment‚ while dealing with misconduct fairly and appropriately. Protecting the privacy of these women has been‚ and will continue to be‚ a priority for EE.
". . . Our priority now is to build trust‚ and centre equality and justice in all our interactions."
The National Council has appointed Leanne Jansen-Thomas as the interim national coordinator.
EE added‚ "In order to protect the integrity of the investigation of the independent panel‚ we will provide further comment only once that process is finalised."