Equal Education media statement: Update on Doron Isaacs inquiry
On 18 May, Doron Isaacs resigned as Treasurer of Equal Education (EE), and as a member of the movement.
Members of EE’s management team submitted a request to EE’s National Council (NC) on 17 May, requesting it to suspend Isaacs, and investigate claims of sexual harassment against him. The NC was also requested to look into a 2011 investigation into his conduct that had cleared him of wrongdoing.
The NC formally resolved to establish an inquiry on 22 May. Law firm Cheadle Thompson and Haysom was asked to act as independent liaison with experienced external counsel, and to brief counsel on the drafting of terms of reference for the Isaacs panel. These were approved by the EE NC on 14 June.
Cheadle Thompson and Haysom, in consultation with the NC, compiled a list of potential panelists. We can now confirm that the panellists for the Isaacs inquiry are the following people:
Kathleen Satchwell, commonly known as Kathie Satchwell, is a retired Judge of the High Court of South Africa. She was a prominent human rights attorney in the 1990s. She gave evidence before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on the role of the legal system in contributing to the violations of human rights in South Africa under apartheid. She was appointed as a judge by then President Nelson Mandela in 1996, she is recently retired. She will be the Chairperson of the inquiry.
Dr Malose Langa is an academic at Wits University. His research interests include risk-taking behaviours among the youth and their role in politics, trauma of collective violence and the psychology of men (masculinity) in post-apartheid South Africa. Dr Langa is an Associate Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR); and he is a member of the Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC), appointed by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee of the University of Cape Town (UCT) after violent student protests.
Professor Rashida Manjoo is based at the UCT law faculty. She was the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women until July 2015. She was appointed in June 2009. She has served as the Parliamentary commissioner on South Africa's Commission on Gender Equality; on the Steering Committee of the Initiative for Strategic Litigation; and is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice.
The establishment of this inquiry will afford complainants an opportunity to voice any complaints they may have against Isaacs. The inquiry will look into issues relating to sexual harassment and/or similar misconduct.
Complainants are encouraged to make contact with Shamima Gaibie or Tamryn van Wyk from Cheadle Thompson and Haysom, telephonically at 011 403 2765, or in writing via the email address email@example.com
Cheadle Thompson and Haysom will be available to assist complainants, if they request, in preparing a written submission to the panel.
The panel will convene in Cape Town at the offices of Cheadle Thompson and Haysom from 10am to 3pm on the following dates:
25 to 27 July
9 to 10 August
20 to 23 August
The panel will convene on further dates, if necessary, to undertake this process. During these sittings, complainants will have access to counselling services, if requested.
Commitment to accountability and fairness
We want to acknowledge the courage of those who have already come forward. We reaffirm our commitment to confronting and addressing sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence in our organisation, and doing so in a transparent manner. We will do so while ensuring fair, independent, investigative processes, and that there is a sensitive and supportive environment for those who have been mistreated to come forward.
Statement issued by Noncedo Madubedube, Equal Education General Secretary, 12 July 2018