sex Lesson pests for

Preda­tors ac­quit­ted in court, but nailed at council hear­ings

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By PREGA GOVEN­DER

No es­cape for abu­sive teach­ers

A prin­ci­pal who sent lewd SMSes to a pupil, a teacher who im­preg­nated a pupil and gave her an abor­tion pill, and an­other teacher who al­legedly raped an 11-year-old, are among the 10 ed­u­ca­tors whose guilty find­ings in mis­con­duct hear­ings were con­firmed by ar­bi­tra­tors this year.

The ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ings took place un­der the aus­pices of the Ed­u­ca­tion Labour Re­la­tions Council.

The Depart­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion is draw­ing up a new pol­icy to deal with sex­pest teach­ers amid con­cerns that some schools avoid re­port­ing sex­ual mis­con­duct be­cause it puts the school in a bad light.

Eight of the 10 teach­ers were dis­missed while two re­ceived fi­nal writ­ten warn­ings.

The names of the schools and the pupils are known to the Sun­day Times but have been with­held to pro­tect the iden­ti­ties of the vic­tims.

Among the cell­phone mes­sages that L C Ntombela, the prin­ci­pal of a high school in KwaZulu-Na­tal, is said to have sent to a pupil were “If you want me to f**k you my love, go to Mr Dlamini’s class” and “I re­ally wanted to f**k you, the prob­lem was I couldn’t”.

Ac­cord­ing to the tran­script of the ar­bi­tra­tion pro­ceed­ings, Ntombela and the pupil he was ac­cused of hav­ing sex with de­nied there was a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship.

The ar­bi­tra­tor said Ntombela’s ev­i­dence was “rid­dled with con­tra­dic­tions and bare de­nials of facts”.

Moses Tsotetsi, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the South African Lib­er­ated Public Ser­vice Work­ers Union, who rep­re­sented Ntombela, said it was tak­ing the ar­bi­tra­tion rul­ing on re­view to the Labour Court.

“We think the com­mis­sioner did not get it right. All we want is to clear the name of the learner and the prin­ci­pal.”

In an­other mis­con­duct case, KwaZu­luNatal high school teacher N A Jali was found guilty of hav­ing sex with a 17-year-old.

Ac­cord­ing to tran­scripts from his ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing, the pupil ini­tially re­fused to dis­close the iden­tity of the fa­ther of her child to her aunt. But pupils told the aunt that Jali was the fa­ther.

The girl fell ill and was taken to Eden­vale Hos­pi­tal in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, and her aunt was in­formed by a so­cial worker that her niece had tried to abort the baby by tak­ing pills. Af­ter giv­ing birth, the pupil told her aunt Jali was the fa­ther and that he had given her the abor­tion pills.

Jali’s fam­ily later paid R11 500 in cus­tom­ary dam­ages, ac­cord­ing to the aunt.

Jali’s at­tor­ney, Yunus Bham­jee, said his client was con­sid­er­ing his op­tions.

The council also found two teach­ers guilty of sex­ual mis­con­duct against two 11year-old school­girls, but both were cleared of rape by the courts.

In the first case, Rod­will Klein­booi, a for­mer head of depart­ment, was found guilty at a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a pupil near the Mal­abar ceme­tery in Port El­iz­a­beth in Fe­bru­ary 2009. The find­ing was up­held by the council, but he was found not guilty of rape by the Port El­iz­a­beth Re­gional Court in July 2015.

Klein­booi’s at­tor­ney, Ge­orge Mal­gas, said his client de­nied rap­ing the girl and had in­structed him to take the mat­ter on re­view to the Labour Court, be­cause the ed­u­ca­tion council com­mis­sioner “erred in his find­ings”.

Bhekinkosi Ngubane, a for­mer teacher at a KwaZulu-Na­tal pri­mary school, was found guilty by the council of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing an 11-year-old school­girl in Oc­to­ber 2014.

He was ac­quit­ted of the charge of rape by the Vry­heid Re­gional Court in KwaZulu-Na­tal in Oc­to­ber last year, but his dis­missal as a teacher was up­held in his ar­bi­tra­tion process this year.

A se­nior official for the council, Mat­lose Moela, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was not bound by the judg­ments in crim­i­nal courts.

“Most of the time our rul­ings stand, even af­ter they go to the Labour Court for re­view,” said Moela.

Lisa Vet­ten, a Uni­ver­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand re­searcher in gen­der-based vi­o­lence, said a teacher could not be crim­i­nally pros­e­cuted for con­sen­sual sex with a pupil who was 16 years or older. How­ever, un­der the Em­ploy­ment of Ed­u­ca­tors Act a teacher must be dis­missed if found guilty of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a pupil or hav­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a school­child.

At a meet­ing of depart­ment of­fi­cials and ed­u­ca­tion port­fo­lio com­mit­tee mem­bers this month in par­lia­ment, it was men­tioned that prin­ci­pals had a le­gal obli­ga­tion to re­port sex­ual abuse.

Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga told par­lia­ment in Septem­ber that pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ments must sub­mit re­ported cases in­volv­ing pupils and teach­ers to her depart­ment ev­ery month.

A spokesman said that im­proved pro­to­cols for prin­ci­pals re­gard­ing the re­port­ing of sex­ual abuse were in a draft stage and she could not re­veal de­tails.

Gen­der vi­o­lence re­searcher Lisa Vet­ten.

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