Officials from the Gauteng department of education visited Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg yesterday after allegations of sex abuse emerged in a Sunday Times report that sparked outrage.
According to the article, more than 20 pupils, aged between 15 and 16, had accused the school’s 22-year-old water polo coach of sexual assault.
It said that the allegations emerged after the coach, who was also an assistant boarding school master, was caught on footage from a surveillance camera allegedly fondling a 15-year-old pupil’s genitals in the common room of the school’s hostel in November last year.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said yesterday he was disappointed at the school for not reporting the matter to his department.
“The department became aware only after the issue became public. The failure by the school to report these serious allegations smacks of an attempt to sweep them under the carpet,” he said in a statement.
Lesufi said his department would investigate the allegations, the extent of the prevalence of sex abuse at the school, as well as the reasons the school did not seem to have taken any action.
“Any educator found guilty of this nature of misconduct should be dismissed, as they betray the duty to protect children under their care,” he said.
While the department said it respected the court process currently under way, it said it was prudent for it to investigate the matter to determine what further steps should be taken.
The DA has called for authorities to investigate the extent of sexual abuse at the school.
Speaking to Talk Radio 702, chairperson of the school’s governing body Nicolas Greyling said he was alerted to the video incident by the school’s principal in November, after which the matter was handed over to the police.
The suspect is out on bail and expected to return to court this week.