TAC statement on sexual harassment

Johannesburg, 19 May 2018 – In the dawn of Friday morning (18 May 2018), we woke up to the shocking news that Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) co-founder, Zackie Achmat, has been implicated in a cover-up involving the Doron Isaac sexual harassment case, as reported by Mail & Guardian. This and other recent incidents of this nature are extremely alarming and we know that few survivors of sexual misconduct and harassment have the courage to report what they have been subject to as they often question the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and many fear for their lives.

It is important to note that as a human rights organisation, TAC remains principled and resolute on issues that undermine the integrity of women in the workplace and all spheres of life and have been at the forefront of calling for justice to prevail in a number of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct cases, including Fezeka Kuzwayo (Kwezi) – may her soul rest in peace, and the kanga [rape] case implicating former South African President, Jacob Zuma. Just recently, TAC, among other organisations, called on the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michele Sidibé, to take responsibility for his actions as he was implicated in having had a hand in covering up for the sins of his Deputy, Luiz Loures. 

Zackie’s case is no different, therefore TAC calls for an urgent establishment of an independent investigation to run concurrently with criminal investigation processes, if and when a case of harassment is opened, to ensure that due processes are followed on this matter and that the law take its course. The processes and outcomes of this enquiry should be made public. 

We also call for the government to review and strengthen policies and guidelines that respond to issues of gender-based violence (GBV) processes and to encourage survivors to not only report internally but involve South African police services as well as organisations may not have all the expertise required to handle such incidences. 

In no uncertain terms, TAC condemns sexual harassment, GBV and patriarchy inside and outside the non-governmental organization (NGO) space and we denounce how this matter was handled by Equal Education (EE), as reported by the media. As TAC, we are not apportioning blame to anyone but are calling for a fair, transparent and just process to prevail in addressing this matter.

For media interviews, please contact:

Sibongile Tshabalala / National Chairperson / 074 471 6318
Vuyokazi Gonyela / Deputy General Secretary / 073 6363 1373
Thandi Maloka / National Women’s Sector Representative / 072 279 2112
Pule Goqo / National Men’s Sector Representative / 072 464 7045

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