JOHANNESBURG, 23 May 2018 – The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is shocked and disappointed by the call made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Department of Education in the Western Cape (WC) for suspension of the activities of Equal Education (EE) until the investigation on sexual harassment is conducted. We view the call as opportunistic and a political game of scoring points that amounts to an attack on the civil society organization’s role in our communities. There are thousands of people who are beneficiaries to the programme ran by Equal Education.
As TAC, we reject what the DA is calling for in the WC, which reminds us of a similar demand that was made by the ANCYL and ANCWL in Free State (FS) in 2015 when they were calling for the de-registration of TAC because of the pressure to the FS Department of Health on the collapse of the province’s public healthcare system. We know and understand that the DA is the governing party in the WC and we are also aware of the good work that EE did in trying to hold the WC Department of Education accountable for their failures within the education system in that province. We question if the DA is running away from EE pressure in the WC in terms of fixing the collapsed education system by making these utterances.
While we recognise the good done by EE, we further endorse the call by many to institute an independent investigation into the alleged sexual harassment case within EE. We also ask that the DA and everyone else involved, directly or indirectly, respect the process. We cannot suspend the operations of EE because of the alleged wrongdoings of a few staff members and leaders. TAC will not stand sexual violence of any sort in NGOs, political parties or society at large and as much as we are calling for all members of society, including leaders and politicians, and organisations to be held accountable, political parties cannot turn a blind eye to cases of sexual harassment when they are taking place within their own ranks as well. They must always come out to condemn any cases of sexual harassment.
As TAC, we are going to have a meeting next week with the national leadership of EE and will continue to urge that this is handled justly and effectively. We demand that our government strengthen its response on issues of sexual harassment in the workplace and gender-based violence in any community in our nation and remain firm on never tolerating such incidences.
TAC National Chairperson, Sibongile Tshabalala 074 471 6318
TAC General Secretary, Anele Yawa 064 850 6521