Mo­lested pupils soar from 54 to 83

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SIPHUMELELE KHU­MALO

THE NUM­BER of Soweto pri­mary school pupils al­legedly mo­lested by a se­cu­rity guard has in­creased from 54 to a shock­ing 83, the Gauteng Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion con­firmed yes­ter­day.

This emerged as fu­ri­ous par­ents held a meet­ing last night to dis­cuss the trau­matic de­vel­op­ments.

Con­firm­ing the in­crease, Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi tweeted: “Sadly, the num­ber of learn­ers who were al­legedly sex­u­ally as­saulted by the guard at a pri­mary school in Soweto has in­creased to 83.”

The sus­pect was ar­rested on Mon­day and ap­peared at the Protea Mag­is­trate’s Court on Wed­nes­day. He is in cus­tody and is due to ap­pear in court again on Wed­nes­day.

The depart­ment con­firmed that the prin­ci­pal and the se­nior man­age­ment of the school were dis­missed with im­me­di­ate ef­fect and stated that it will en­gage the school gov­ern­ing body to es­tab­lish why it should not be dis­solved.

An in­de­pen­dent body has also been ap­pointed to in­ves­ti­gate all the al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against the prin­ci­pal and the school’s man­age­ment.

The depart­ment also con­firmed that it was of­fer­ing coun­selling to the learn­ers, who were mostly be­lieved to be in Grade R.

A multi-dis­ci­plinary team made up of of­fi­cials from Gauteng’s ed­u­ca­tion, so­cial de­vel­op­ment and health de­part­ments as well the Teddy Bear Clinic is pro­vid­ing coun­selling for the pupils. “We will con­tinue to closely mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion,” Le­sufi said.

“We re­main grate­ful to all the stake­hold­ers, es­pe­cially the Teddy Bear Clinic and so­cial sup­port ser­vices. And I am grate­ful that the depart­ment has pri­ori­tised this mat­ter, and we will leave no stone un­turned,” Le­sufi added.

The ANC Women’s League praised the par­ents who re­ported the mat­ter to po­lice.

OUT­RAGED: Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi fired the prin­ci­pal and man­age­ment.

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