NGO’s sexual harassment woes grow


Grand Master of the Friendzone
Mar 6, 2004
Equal Education’s co-founder Doron Isaacs has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment, and senior figures in the organisation, including prominent activist Zackie Achmat, have been accused of covering his tracks, an investigation by the Mail & Guardian reveals.

This has emerged from interviews with more than a dozen female Equal Education staff members, both current and former, who allege an institutional failure to address sexual harassment allegations, going back nearly a decade, and a concerted effort by the organisation to cover up the scandal. This includes three women who told the M&G they were sexually harassed by Isaacs.

Achmat’s name was mentioned as someone who sought to intimidate women against speaking out. Both Isaacs and Achmat deny all the allegations against them.

The new allegations come at the end of an already difficult week for the civil society organisation, which campaigns for better access to education in South Africa.

On Monday, Equal Education released a statement confirming that its general secretary, Tshepo Motsepe, had resigned in April after several women made allegations of sexual harassment against him — allegations he denies. The statement came in response to questions submitted by the M&G.

The organisation did not disclose at the time — publicly or internally — that another senior official is also being investigated for sexual harassment. On Wednesday, the M&G revealed that Luyolo Mazwembe, the former head of national organising, was accused of offering a “job for sex” to a volunteer. He denies this allegation against him, but admits to “sending notes” and “promising a romantic relationship” to a volunteer.