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Com­plaints against teach­ers are on the de­cline, with 312 cases filed since March with the SA Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tors (Sace), amid vi­o­lence and sex-for-marks al­le­ga­tions that rocked pub­lic schools this past year. Of those cases 173 have been fi­nalised, 118 are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated or dis­ci­plinary hear­ings are un­der way and 21 cases are still wait­ing to be in­ves­ti­gated.

De­tails of this year’s cases formed part of a re­port tabled re­cently by of­fi­cials from Sace, the statu­tory body for teach­ers, at a meeting of the par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion.

The num­ber of cases ap­pears to be on the de­cline, with 561 in 2017/18 and 593 the year be­fore that.

But the feel­ing is that cases are not fi­nalised quickly enough.

The Sace re­port found that in ad­di­tion to this year’s cases, 248 were car­ried over from 2016/17. Of those, only 126 were fi­nalised by March 31 – the end of the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year.

Of this year’s 312 cases, 253 com­plaints were filed against teach­ers for al­legedly met­ing out cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment.

Alarm­ingly, of the 560 cases which Sace dealt with this year – in­clud­ing those rolled over from pre­vi­ous years – 301 were fi­nalised with­out a hear­ing be­ing held. And, of those, 233 ad­vi­sory let­ters – in­clud­ing let­ters of warn­ing – were is­sued to teach­ers. Four cases are be­ing me­di­ated, six cases were with­drawn be­fore any hear­ing could be held, and 38 were closed be­cause of a lack of ev­i­dence. And 20 cases were re­ferred to the depart­ment of ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, the po­lice and the Ed­u­ca­tion Labour Re­la­tions Coun­cil.

Only 26 cases were fi­nalised through hear­ings. These in­cluded five teach­ers who were “struck off the roll in­def­i­nitely”; six teach­ers were struck off the roll but may reap­ply for ad­mis­sion in the fu­ture; and 18 teach­ers who were struck off the roll but the de­ci­sion was sus­pended. Two teach­ers were fined and two teach­ers were found not guilty.

The re­port re­vealed the names of 24 teach­ers, who had been found “un­fit to work with chil­dren”. The names had been sub­mit­ted to the depart­ment of so­cial devel­op­ment to be in­cluded in the Na­tional Child Pro­tec­tion Reg­is­ter. SLOW AC­TION AGAINST ‘ER­RANT’ TEACHER

One case that il­lus­trates how slowly ac­tion is taken against teach­ers – and which still has to reach Sace – was that of Soweto’s Kgatelopele Se­condary School prin­ci­pal, Phan­de­lani Mokono.

The Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a for­mal com­plaint filed in May by members of his teach­ing staff that he “in­sti­gates” pupils to threaten and at­tack them.

Staff also al­leged that pupils ad­mit­ted to hav­ing a “hit-list” con­tain­ing names of teach­ers who needed to be removed from the school.

And one of the teach­ers, whose name is known to City Press, was al­legedly at­tacked and Abuse of chil­dren by teach­ers seems to be on the de­cline, but is it re­ally?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word TEACHER and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50. By par­tic­i­pat­ing, you agree to re­ceive oc­ca­sional mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial con­stantly threat­ened by pupils and has since left the school.

“We feel that [the prin­ci­pal] should be removed as he con­stantly takes us for granted … He said that pupils are our em­ploy­ers, he con­stantly tells them this, and pupils use this to dis­re­spect us,” said the com­plaint.

“Pupils feel free to walk to his of­fice even when they have dis­re­spected teach­ers. Hence it is dif­fi­cult to rep­ri­mand pupils be­cause they al­ways say they will go to the of­fice and speak to the prin­ci­pal ‘man to man’.

“They even re­fer to him as Bra Gibbs [a charis­matic char­ac­ter, who played the role of a prin­ci­pal in the pocket of a lo­cal gang­ster in a tele­vi­sion drama Yizo-Yizo].”

Mokono de­clined to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions, re­fer­ring all ques­tions to the depart­ment.

But he did say his work­ing re­la­tions with the com­plainants – who are most of the teach­ers at the school – were strained. An SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers’ Union mem­ber, Mokono blames the ten­sion on the launch of the new Ed­u­ca­tors’ Union of SA (Eusa) at the school.

Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Steve Mabona said some of the griev­ances the teach­ers raised were ad­dressed and it was agreed at a meeting be­tween of­fi­cials and Eusa on Fri­day last week that en­gage­ments must con­tinue to re­solve out­stand­ing prob­lems. No ac­tion had been taken against Mokono be­cause they were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

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