Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
24 May 2017
5:51 am

Strict vetting to keep sex pests out of schools

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Assistant coaches faces 20 charges for sexual assault and abuse after 20 pupils came forward.

Gauteng MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Refilwe Modise

Parktown Boys High School has been urged to follow a stricter vetting process when hiring staff after reports of alleged sexual assault and abuse at the school surfaced earlier this month.

Yesterday, Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi paid another visit to the school and spoke to pupils about school safety and reporting sexual assault.

They were given anonymous contact details for counselling and support.

A 22-year-old assistant water-polo coach at the school remains in custody after allegedly being caught on camera sexually assaulting a 15-year-old pupil in the boarding facilities.

He faces multiple charges relating to sexual assault and assault after 20 pupils came forward to report similar incidents.

The case is expected to be heard in July.

The department has said its investigation into the prevalence of sexual abuse at the school was ongoing.

Asked if the school would face any ramifications for not reporting the recent incident sooner, department spokesperson Steven Mabona replied: “The district will provide a report to the MEC on the reporting or lack thereof.

“MEC Lesufi has implored school governing body members to start subjecting candidates to strict HR vetting processes prior to their appointment as support staff of schools.

“The department has a programme advocating for school safety and a children’s rights campaign. A protocol for the management of confirmed and suspected cases of abuse is currently being updated to comply with all child protection legislation.”

The MEC encouraged the boys not to listen to those who say “boys don’t cry and complain”, as it was likely to cause harm later in their lives.

“We are here to ensure this never occurs again. School is a place of learning, not discomfort,” he said.

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