sex Lesson pests for
Predators acquitted in court, but nailed at council hearings
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.