NEWS & ANALYSIS

Sexual harassment: EE must cease operations in WCape schools – Debbie Schäfer

MEC says, if allegations are correct, this is hardly the type of person we need working with female learners

Media Release: MEC deeply concerned about allegations of sexual misconduct at Equal Education 

21 May 2018 

Over the past week, allegations of sexual harassment have been made against three Equal Education (EE) employees: General Secretary, Tshepo Motsepe - who I believe recently resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment of female staffers - Luyolo Mazwembe, who is reportedly being investigated after he allegedly offered a “job for sex” to a volunteer, and Doron Isaacs, Co-founder and Treasurer of the organisation. This is most concerning.

Equal Education works in schools across the province, and whilst at least some of the allegations appear to be from people within the staff of the organisation, it is not clear whether any learners are involved.  In addition, if the allegations are correct, this is hardly the type of person we need working in our schools.

I have therefore written to Equal Education requesting that they furnish me with the details regarding every interview or engagement conducted by Mr Motsepe, Mr Mazwembe or Mr Isaacs so far this year, with any female learner in the Western Cape. I have requested the names of learners, the school that the learners’ attend, the date of the interviews and who was present during the interviews.  I require this information by this Friday, 25 May.

I have also demanded an undertaking by 5pm tomorrow, Tuesday 22 May, that they will cease operations in Western Cape schools until such time as we have had an opportunity to meet with them and discuss the way forward.  Should we not receive such undertaking, we shall instruct our schools not to allow anybody from Equal Education, and who is not a learner at the school, onto school premises.

In addition, I want to know whether Equal Education conducts background checks on their staff and if so, whether Mr Motsepe, Mr Mazwembe and Mr Isaacs passed the relevant checks.  If they do not, I would like to know why not, given that they have access to our learners.

Sexual abuse against young female learners is prevalent in our communities, as raised by Equal Education on a number of occasions, and it is distressing that such allegations have been made against high ranking members of their own organisation.

In the meantime, I have requested that our Chief Director for Districts immediately investigate what measures are taken by NGO’s working in our schools to vet their members, and put whatever processes are necessary, in place.

Issued by Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education, Western Cape Government, 21 May 2018