Teacher accused of sexual assault
A TEACHER at AJ Ferreira Secondary School in Upington has been suspended following allegations that he was sexually harassing two young girls at the school.
According to parents at the school and members of the school governing body (SGB), the teacher took the girls, who are in Grade 10 and 11, to an isolated classroom where he allegedly fondled their breasts and acted inappropriately with them over a period of about three months.
The teacher also allegedly sent lewd messages and photos to the pupils’ cellphones.
SGB members stated that the teacher had apparently warned the girls not to tell anyone about the alleged incidents.
“He asked them if they missed him and advised them that no one would believe their lies.”
They added that the teacher, George Hendriks, had appeared in the Upington Magistrate’s Court and was suspended by the Department of Education following a meeting that was convened by the SGB .
“Concerns were raised as to why no action was taken and why it was allowed to carry on for so long.”
A parent said that the girls had been acting strangely and were too afraid to report the teacher.
“We noticed they weren’t themselves and their parents picked up that something was horribly wrong. Now the pupils are being victimised by a friend of the teacher.”
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, confirmed that a case of sexual assault and assault GBH was being investigated.
“A 15-year-old pupil alleged that a 39-year-old teacher sexually assaulted her.
“The suspect appeared before the Upington Magistrate’s Court on September 8.
“He was released on bail of R500 and the case is remanded to October 9. Police investigations continue,” said Mooi.
The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, stated that the teacher was placed on preliminary precautionary suspension.
“This will give him an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him and to indicate why he should not be placed on precautionary suspension.
“Being placed on precautionary suspension will also ensure that the alleged perpetrator does not attempt to influence the complainants and witnesses,” said Van der Merwe.
He added that the charges were considered to be serious.
“The department is currently investigating the allegations made by the pupils and their parents.”