Respected civic group deepens sex pest inquiry

18 May 2018 - 08:11 By Timeslive
Tshepo Motsepe. File photo.
Tshepo Motsepe. File photo.
Image: Via Equal Education Facebook

An independent panel looking into allegations of sexual harassment at Equal Education is inviting testimony on both current and past instances of alleged sexual harassment‚ following assertions involving at least three of its leaders.

These claims have been denied by the people involved.

Yoliswa Dwane‚ the organisation's national council chairperson‚ said in a statement: "We acknowledge that the concerns being raised include several about past investigations into misconduct of leaders at EE.

"We take them seriously‚ and encourage any person willing to come forward and share information about these matters with the independent investigation panel established by EE‚ to do so as soon as possible."

She said submissions made to the independent panel would be accessible only to its members - 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.

Honjiswa Raba‚ EE's human resources manager‚ has been appointed as the administrative secretary who will assist the panel "in only administrative tasks".

Said Dwane: "She is bound to written confidentiality and discretion agreements. For the purposes of her administrative work in this regard she reports directly to the panel‚ and not to the management team nor to the leadership of EE."

The panel was first announced to investigate allegations against a former general secretary at the organisation.

"We have confidence in the integrity of the panel‚ and in their capacity to lead this process sensitively and proactively‚" Dwane said. "In particular‚ we are collectively committed to ensuring that the identities of those making submissions will remain confidential."

EE also intends to review its own handling of the matters raised.

"As a movement committed to social justice‚ we are determined to identify and address any factors which may enable the abuse of power‚ particularly sexual harassment. We are determined to work hard to remedy this - to build a safe‚ welcoming movement‚" said Dwane.

She said the submissions to the panel could include formal testimonies‚ anonymous tip-offs‚ and suggestions for areas of further investigation. Anyone wanting to make a submission was advised to contact: eeinquiry18@gmail.com.

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