SADC Tribunal hears shocking details about sexual harrassment at Zambia office
Suspected cases of sexual harassment and gender based discrimination have been recorded at one of the SADC Secretariat’s offices called Plant Genetic Office – Zambia by a male perpetrator named Dr Justify Gotami Shava, a Zimbabwean national.
Details came to light during an ongoing tribunal session before a panel of three Judges from various parts of Southern African Region.
The SADC Executive Secretary could not comment on the allegations of gross abuse of human rights, sexual harassment of women, violation of employee’s rights, corruption and abuse of authority.
Evidence before the SADC Administrative Tribunal (SADCAT) which is being presided over by Justices Dr Monageng, Manyangadze and Dr Muhongo suggest that the SADC Head at the Zambian office, one Dr Shava has characterised citizen of South Africa as, “lazy and rebellious”, Batswana as, “lazy” and Zambians as “thieves and as technically incompetent”. The evidence led before the SADCAT shows that the gender that has been most affected by the rampant abuse is the women folk. One of the witnesses stated, “I am not the only one who is a victim. The women are the most hit. The abuse and threats are the order of the day….The trail of threats humiliation, intimidation executed under the auspices of the SADC Secretariat are heart breaking…”
From the evidence led, at the Tribunal women abuse is so rampant. All the women who testified before Tribunal broke down into tears and the Judges had to adjourn the hearing several times to allow them to cool down. It appears sexual harassment is an order of the day at the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Center (SPGRC) office. The testimony made before the Judges was so traumatizing and one of the women had at one stage to change place of abode in fear of possible harassment.
Evidence before the Tribunal suggests that this abuse contributed to the demise of Dr Shava’s Administrative Assistant, the late Mary Phiri, a Zambian national
A source from the SADC Secretariat advised that the HR Directorate was aware of these issues but no action was taken on any of these issues to the said Dr Shava.