Public Service Commission launches sexual harassment policy

By Abigirl Tembo

THE Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken a bold step to curb sexual harassment at the workplace through the launch of the Public Service Sexual Harassment Policy.

The policy was created by the desire to create a safe and harmonious working environment in which public service employees feel secure, respected, empowered and supported.

Government is confident the policy will ensure a safe and non-discriminatory working environment to combat sexual harassment in the public service.

“The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment in which no member of the public service is on the basis of sex, excluded from participating in, denied the benefits of or subjected to discrimination in any public service programme or activity. It is expected to put in place mechanisms for redress in cases of sexual harassment in the public service and to inform all members that if allegations of sexual harassment are levelled and substantiated against them, they are liable for such actions,” said the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Paul Mavhima.

“It is about making people aware of the existence and the possibility of this vice occurring and we are saying please be aware that when you engage in sexual harassment you are actually impacting negatively on another human being. We also need to make sure necessary action is taken so those who are found wanting pay for their sins,” explained Dr Vincent Hungwe, chairperson of the Public Service Commission.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative, Mr Elliman Jagne commended the government of Zimbabwe for coming up with the policy.

“This policy is an actualisation of the commitments made by Zimbabwe in the fight against sexual harassment and harmful policies,” he noted.

The sexual harassment policy will be complemented by the strengthening of legal and institutional frameworks for prevention of and response to sexual harassment.

This includes putting in place supportive systems for employees and stakeholders who may experience sexual harassment during the course of their employment or interaction with public service employees.