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Heads expected to roll at SABC after sexual harassment notices issued

Heads are expected to roll at the SABC after the public broadcaster announced that it would initiate action against all those implicated in the sexual harassment of their colleagues.

Spokesperson Neo Momodu said all those accused of sexual harassment have been served with notices and would be given an opportunity to make representations.

The broadcaster established a commission of inquiry into sexual harassment on June 1 to probe instances of sexual harassment at the SABC.

The commission completed its work on October 31.

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“The commission, which is independent from the SABC, presented its final report which was accepted in its entirety by the SABC board. The mandate of the commission was to accept verbal and written allegations of sexual harassment from former and current SABC employees and provide them an opportunity to report experiences they may have had of sexual harassment, which were either never addressed or were not dealt with to the complainants’ satisfaction.”

After an intensive investigation process, the commission made findings and submitted recommendations which the SABC was implementing, Momodu said.

Harassment not taken seriously

The SABC was once accused by the same commission of not taking sexual harassment seriously and of needing to develop a culture that embraces the enhancement of human and gender rights.

The commission found that the SABC was complicit in some cases, accusing the broadcaster of being oblivious to infringements of its sexual harassment policies.

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Chairperson Barbara Watson revealed that the public broadcaster’s sexual harassment policies did not meet international standards and needed to be reviewed.

Watson found out that some of the victims had been forced to resign and a couple became divorced, while perpetrators remained in their posts. Some of the harassers were managers in positions of power.

The commission also found that a strong perception existed that human resources personnel and senior managers colluded and that most senior managers had a serious lack of knowledge and understanding of human rights statutes, gender relations and issues of power relations between men and women.

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