The Department of Education has refused to comment on the DA’s plea to launch a commission of inquiry into sexual assault in schools.
This follows the viral circulation of a video on social media depicting a principal at Reiger Park High School allegedly sexually assaulting pupils. The principal has since resigned and the department said it would report him to the South African Council of Educators (Sace) so that he would be struck off the roll.
Gauteng department of education MEC Panyaza Lesufi expressed his disappointment in a statement regarding the incident and confirmed that the principal was no longer employed by the department.
“Our enquiry revealed that the said principal resigned in October 2017, and as such his last day was January 15.” Lesufi said a psycho-social unit will visit the school today to provide counselling for the affected pupils and assist parents to interact with the police.
The DA’s call for the department to launch a commission of inquiry to investigate the extent of sexual abuse at schools follows after numerous sexual abuse incidents were reported last year. In 2017, the Gauteng department of education reported that more than 87 pupils had allegedly been assaulted by a security guard in a Soweto school. In the same year, a water polo coach at Parktown Boys High school was accused of assaulting at least 20 students.
Another incident occurred in 2017, where a 17-yearold pupil was allegedly raped by a 28-year-old school guard during a matric ball at a Mamelodi school in Pretoria. The department said in a statement it had zero tolerance for sexual abuse allegations and has never hesitated to take action.
“We strongly condemn any acts of sexual misconduct in schools and encourage pupils never to listen to anybody who tells them not to tell,” said Lesufi.
Lesufi urged parents and pupils to report any sexual misconduct.