Education treasurer resigns amid sexual harassment allegations
Equal Education (EE) treasurer Doron Isaacs – facing multiple claims of sexual harassment - resigned from the NGO on Friday.
He is the third senior NGO staffer to have resigned in the past week. Isaacs‚ despite his resignation‚ has denied the allegations.
He is the latest in a string of EE members to have left their jobs due to allegations of sexual harassment. The other two are former general secretary Tshepo Motsepe and former head of national organising Luyolo Mazwembe.
In a statement issued on Friday night‚ acting co-ordinator Leanne Jansen-Thomas said that Isaacs had resigned earlier in the day.
“As a movement committed to principles of human dignity‚ social justice‚ and equality‚ EE is deeply distressed by the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the former treasurer of EE‚ Doron Isaacs.
“Today‚ Friday May 18, Doron submitted a letter to the national council in which he has resigned as treasurer of EE and as a member of the organisation. He has not accepted any wrongdoing at this stage. He has indicated that he is prepared to submit himself to an independent investigation‚” said Jansen-Thomas.
She said the NGO - which has been vocal in its criticism of the national Department of Education, particularly over school infrastructure and scholar transport – was going through an “incredibly difficult period” due to the allegations against its senior staffers.
“We know that the trust and confidence which our supporters have placed in us‚ and the reputation which we have built over 10 years of struggle‚ has been damaged by what has transpired. However‚ we are committed to confronting these difficult times in our movement’s history with honesty and with integrity‚” said Jansen-Thomas.
She said EE had acted swiftly to address every allegation – and that its national council had, on May 12‚ established an independent inquiry specifically into the claims against Motsepe‚ but this would not be extended to include other staff members.
“On May 17, members of EE’s management team wrote to the national council to request it to suspend Doron and to investigate claims of misconduct. The letter noted that allegations of sexual harassment were circulating about the former treasurer‚” she said.
“We remain resolute in our commitment to investigate every allegation of sexual harassment brought against members‚ staff or leadership of EE. We are committed to taking the necessary steps to enable an independent‚ safe and respectful process that will allow women to come forward with allegations without fear and with requisite anonymity. All those who wish to come forward will‚ in addition‚ be offered the necessary support and professional counselling services.
“We want to acknowledge the courage of those who have already come forward‚ and reiterate our call for anyone with information relevant to the work of the panel to make a submission‚” said Jansen-Thomas.