Sex as­saults plague SABC

HR found to bend rules to shield per­pe­tra­tors

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Pen­well Dlamini

Fe­male em­ploy­ees at the SABC have been sub­jected to in­ci­dents of sex­ual ha­rass­ment for years, with some re­port­ing them, but no one has been held ac­count­able. This was re­vealed in a re­port re­leased by an in­ter­nal in­quiry into sex­ual ha­rass­ment at the pub­lic broad­caster yes­ter­day. A to­tal of 10 cases were lodged by vic­tims. Seven were lodged by whistle­blow­ers and 11 al­leged per­pe­tra­tors were in­ter­viewed.

In one of the in­ci­dents in KwaZulu-Natal, a fe­male em­ployee was sex­u­ally ha­rassed in the pres­ence of oth­ers. She re­ported the in­ci­dent to the hu­man re­sources (HR) unit to in­ves­ti­gate. In­stead of bring­ing the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor to ac­count, HR pro­cessed the com­plaint in­for­mally and there was no con­clu­sion of the mat­ter. “At the time of our com­mis­sion, the com­plainant did not come for­ward, never even re­sponded to our e-mails,” said for­mer com­mis­sion for gen­der equal­ity chair­per­son Mfanozelwe Shozi, who was part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “When we in­ves­ti­gated, we un­earthed that she had been given a po­si­tion at a par­tic­u­lar sta­tion by the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor, and there­fore, in our view, they were now cor­rob­o­rat­ing on this.

“In this re­gard, we feel that the SABC sex­ual ha­rass­ment pol­icy was not fol­lowed by HR. We are say­ing that the SABC should in­ves­ti­gate,” said Shozi. “On is­sues of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, HR and man­agers would have an in­for­mal hear­ing and the com­plainant would not be in­formed of the out­come. [They] opted to de­lib­er­ately not fol­low the pol­icy.” In an­other case in Bloem­fontein, a fe­male em­ployee was asked to touch a col­league’s erect pe­nis.

“The vic­tim was livid and did not re­port it as she thought she could han­dle it. The re­fusal to do all this led to the per­pe­tra­tor be­ing nasty and hos­tile to­wards her,” Shozi said. The SABC in­sti­tuted an in­quiry into sex­ual ha­rass­ment af­ter it was re­quested by its tele­vi­sion sec­tion. How­ever, most of the cases of sex­ual ha­rass­ment were found to be tak­ing place in the ra­dio side of the pub­lic broad­caster. Shozi said em­ploy­ees told the com­mis­sion that some­times when they re­ported in­ci­dents they would be told “don’t worry, it hap­pened to me, you are gonna be al­right”. Shozi said there was weak lead­er­ship at the sta­tions where the in­ci­dents hap­pened. “Ev­ery­body was do­ing what they liked. There are even re­ports in one of the books of a for­mer em­ployee be­ing raped at the SABC.”

The com­mis­sion made rec­om­men­da­tions on each in­di­vid­ual case and pro­posed that the SABC fix prob­lems at its hu­man re­sources di­vi­sion. SABC CEO Madoda Mx­akwe said the board has adopted the re­port and will im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions. The com­mis­sion was chaired by gen­der ac­tivist Bar­bara Wat­son.

‘‘ Don’t worry, it hap­pened to me, you are gonna be al­right

/WALDO SWIEGERS.

An SABC in­ter­nal in­quiry re­veals his­tory of sex­ual ha­rass­ment of fe­male em­ploy­ees.

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