Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sexual abuse: deputy head held


JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) say they will not tolerate sexual abuse or acts of discrimination and violence against pupils in schools.

This follows the arrest of a deputy principal at a Johannesburg school who was accused of sexually assaulting six girls from two different schools.

Department head of communications Charles Phahlane in a statement on Tuesday night, said that the deputy principal was banned from the school as he was considered a danger to the pupils.

“Because of the seriousness of the allegations against him, we cannot have him return to the school if he applies for and is granted bail, as he poses a threat to learners,” he said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Phahlane said the GDE were pursuing disciplinary charges against the accused, who had in another incident allegedly raped another pupil at one of the schools where he had been living with his wife.

The Star newspaper yesterday reported that the deputy’s wife had subsequently committed suicide after her husband’s arrest.

Five other pupils from his school had already reported allegations of sexual assault, against him at the Parkview police station.

A case was being investigated.

“The girl learners are receiving trauma counselling,” said Phahlane.

“Neither will we tolerate acts of discrimination or victimisation of anyone in our schools on the basis of race,” he said.

Meanwhile, the GDE on Tuesday announced it had completed its investigation regarding racism allegations at the Hoër Volkskool in Heidelberg. This follows media reports about a 14-year old pupil who was allegedly assaulted and verbally abused by a fellow classmate. The boy claimed that he was subjected to racial slurs because he was black.

Phahlane said that the GDE had decided to charge the school’s acting principal for “failing to protect learners on reported incidents of racism”.

“The MEC (Barbara Creecy) will, in the next seven days, meet the school governing body and the new principal,” he said.

He explained, that Creecy would instruct the school staff to engage pupils who had allegations of racism against them.