THE KwaZulu-Natal department of education has failed to suspend a primary school principal charged with raping a 14-year-old girl.
Parents at the school, who claim their children are being threatened to lie on the principal’s behalf, now want to know why.
The department was first alerted to the rape last month when The Witness carried the story. The rape allegedly took place in the principal’s office after a grade seven field trip in March.
Responding to a Witness query then, the superintendent-general of the department, Cassius Lubisi, acknowledged that the department had not been aware of the charge, but promised that a letter of suspension would immediately be served on the principal, whose name is known to The Witness.
But up till Tuesday, this had not happened. The department has not been able to clarify why the letter failed to reach the principal.
The principal is alleged to be saying that if the department of Education has not suspended him, he must be innocent. Parents of pupils who are friends with the girl who was allegedly raped have reported that the principal is using the school’s security guard to terrorise their children into fabricating a story that they and the girl were not at school on the day of the alleged rape.
A parent, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said these rape allegations and the intimidation tactics were well known in the community and have been going on for years, dating back to when the principal was a teacher at the school.
“I was at that school in 1992,” said the parent, “and he was doing exactly the same thing then. I have been fondled and even to this day whenever he sees me he tells me I owe him. I presume that’s because he never slept with me. Any girl who has been taught by him from 1991 until now will have some story to tell.”
According to this parent, this behaviour even led to heated fights after school between girls who were involved with the principal at the same time.
The Witness has not been able to confirm rumours that the principal impregnated a pupil last year and paid one of the players in a soccer club he owns to say the child was his.
When asked how she could risk her 13-year-old daughter going to that school, the parent said she didn’t have a choice as it is the closest school to them and she doesn’t have transport money to send her daughter elsewhere. But she claimed to regularly warn her daughter about the principal’s tactics.
“He takes advantage of the fact that most children here are raised by grannies and many people in the area are poor and not educated.
A rape case was opened against the principal with the Mpumalanga police station on April 2. He was charged that same day and was let out on R3 000 bail.
He appeared before the Hammersdale magistrates court April 6.
The case was remanded for May 14 and was later transferred to the Camperdown regional court.
The principal made his first appearance at the regional court on May 21.The trial date has been set for July 31.