19 May 2018, Saturday

OSF-SA does not tolerate any form of harassment or sexual misconduct, and we expect the organisations we support to hold themselves to the same standard. We first learned of the allegations of sexual harassment at Equal Education (EE) when the organisation made them public in late April. We are deeply concerned by what we are hearing and expect a full and independent investigation of what transpired. We expect the organisation to take swift action upon completion of the investigation against any transgressions, while taking measures to protect the women complainants and all who come forward to report transgressions and will be monitoring the situation closely to determine how EE’s response to this situation may affect future funding decisions. And any evidence of criminal misconduct should also be reported to the authorities.

Further, we will be meeting with all grantees funded by OSF-SA and also those grantees who may have been affected and implicated by these reports, to examine what protections and processes they have in place to safeguard women employees especially, from sexual harassment, respect the right to report misconduct without fear of retaliation, and punish those who abuse their position.

We are encouraged that women survivors at EE and at other organisations in the sector have come forward with their complaints. We will interrogate whether the organisations that we fund have mechanisms to report and expose any sexual and other forms of misconduct by those in power to ensure that there are consequences for such unacceptable and illegal conduct. This is especially important in the socio-economic context in which we live, characterised by high levels of violence and abuse of women and children in South Africa.