Ed­u­ca­tion Dept to launch probe into sex­ual abuse case at PMB school

The Witness - - NEWS - KAILENE PIL­LAY and CHELSEA PIETERSE • kailene.pil­lay@wit­ness.co.za

THE Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion will launch an in­tense in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter an­other case of sex­ual abuse at a city school came to light last week.

It is the same school that made head­lines re­cently when their school coun­sel­lor was al­leged to have sex­u­ally abused pupils there.

The depart­ment’s spokesper­son Muzi Mahlambi said the depart­ment only learnt about the al­le­ga­tions of the sex­ual abuse at the school from

The Wit­ness yes­ter­day. “In the pre­vi­ous in­ci­dent, the depart­ment also only found out about the al­le­ga­tions be­cause par­ents opened cases with the po­lice. The school did not vol­un­tar­ily re­port it to the depart­ment,” Mahlambi said.

He said should the al­le­ga­tions be found to be true, and should the depart­ment find that the school with­held re­port­ing the in­ci­dent, “they [the school] will be held ac­count­able and dealt with ac­cord­ingly”.

Par­ents were called in to an emer­gency meet­ing at the school on Fri­day evening and were told by a se­nior teacher that a fe­male pupil had raised a com­plaint about be­ing “touched in­ap­pro­pri­ately” by one of the school’s clean­ing staff mem­bers.

It was al­leged that the pupil re­

“How much more can we take? How much more can our chil­dren be put through? I have had to have con­ver­sa­tions with my in­no­cent son that I never thought I would.”

ported that she was wait­ing for her lift af­ter school when she de­cided to go to the toi­let.

She re­ported that when she was in the toi­let the male cleaner came in and “touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately”. The cleaner al­legedly gave the pupil R100 and in­structed her not to tell any­one about the in­ci­dent.

uM­gun­gundlovu South po­lice clus­ter spokesper­son Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngob­ese con­firmed that a case of sex­ual as­sault was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. He said that no ar­rests have been made as yet.

Fum­ing par­ents told The Wit­ness yes­ter­day that they could not be­lieve an­other case of sex­ual as­sault has emerged at the school.

“We are only just find­ing our feet since the last in­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber and now this. There is no need for se­cu­rity guards to pro­tect our chil­dren from out­siders.

“The mon­sters are within the school,” said one tear­ful par­ent.

She said she “sat in ab­so­lute si­lence and dis­be­lief ” at Fri­day’s meet­ing when a se­nior teacher at the school re­vealed the al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual abuse.

“How much more can we take? How much more can our chil­dren be put through? I have had to have con­ver­sa­tions with my in­no­cent son that I never thought I would,” said the par­ent.

An­other par­ent said it was ap­palling that the school had not learnt its les­son from the last in­ci­dent.

“Their at­ti­tude is that if it is not my child then it is not my prob­lem. This is Oc­to­ber all over again,” said the par­ent.

He said that the pupils have now been told by the school that they should go to the toi­lets in pairs.

The school prin­ci­pal said he could not com­ment on the mat­ter and the chair­per­son of the school gov­ern­ing body could not be reached for their in­put.

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