Knys­na te­a­cher up for sexu­al as­sault

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - N­wa­bi­sa Pon­do­yi

A T­hem­be­lit­sha P­ri­ma­ry S­chool te­a­cher is ex­pected to ap­pear in the Knys­na Ma­gi­stra­te’s Court to­day (15 No­vem­ber), on fi­ve counts of sexu­al as­sault and one of sexu­al g­roo­m­ing in­vol­ving le­ar­ners at the s­chool.

The man, who is re­pre­sen­ted by lo­cal la­wy­er Carl Jep­pe, first ap­pea­red in court on Mon­day t­his week, w­hen the mat­ter was pos­t­po­ned to Wed­nes­day 14 No­vem­ber for his bail ap­pli­ca­ti­on. Y­e­ster­day, it was pos­t­po­ned a­gain, to be he­ard to­day.

Knys­na po­li­ce ar­res­ted the te­a­cher on F­ri­day last week for al­le­ged sexu­al mis­con­duct con­cer­ning a 13-y­e­ar-old le­ar­ner.

Ac­cor­ding to Knys­na po­li­ce spo­kes­per­son Cap­tain T­hu­la­ni Mond­la­na, a gi­rl from the s­chool re­por­ted on 2 No­vem­ber that she was sexu­al­ly as­saul­ted on the s­chool pre­mi­ses du­ring Oc­to­ber.

‘Du­ring s­chool hours’

“It is al­le­ged that on Mon­day 22 Oc­to­ber 2018, in the mor­ning du­ring s­chool hours, the te­a­cher sexu­al­ly as­saul­ted the le­ar­ner. As a re­sult, two mo­re le­ar­ners a­ged 11 and 12 ca­me for­ward with si­mi­lar al­le­ga­ti­ons,” said Mond­la­na.

Be­fo­re the accu­sed’s bail ap­pli­ca­ti­on y­e­ster­day, the mot­her of one of the al­le­ged victims told Knys­na-P­lett He­rald that their child­ren are being victi­mi­sed and pic­ked on by their peers at the s­chool and that as a re­sult, one of the ot­her al­le­ged victims has not been at s­chool sin­ce the te­a­cher’s ar­rest.

“W­hat is he­art­b­re­a­king is that we send our child­ren to s­chool and trust that the te­a­chers will tre­at them as their own, not kno­wing that we could pos­si­bly be ex­po­sing them to sexu­al as­sault and victi­mi­sa­ti­on,” she said.

Au­brey T­seng­wa, a Knys­na coun­cil­lor and chai­r­per­son of the s­chool’s go­ver­ning bo­dy, said t­hey we­re ma­de a­wa­re of the al­le­ged in­ci­dents by the s­chool prin­ci­pal and that if the te­a­cher is found guil­ty t­hey ho­pe that jus­ti­ce will pre­vail.

S­chool prin­ci­pal Siy­a­bu­le­la Lok­we said he is not at li­ber­ty to talk to the me­dia a­bout the al­le­ga­ti­ons, and that he neither de­nies nor cor­ro­bo­ra­tes the al­le­ga­ti­ons.

Pe­ti­ti­on a­gainst bail

The ca­se has at­trac­ted the at­ten­ti­on of na­ti­o­nal acti­vist mo­vement The To­tal S­hut­do­wn (TTS), which was for­med “to dis­mant­le pa­tri­ar­chy and fig­ht gen­der-ba­sed vi­o­len­ce and fe­mi­ci­de”, and a group of lo­cal sup­por­ters of the mo­vement was pre­sent for both court ap­pea­ran­ces t­his week. “We are re­lie­ved that the man re­mains be­hind bars until his bail ap­pli­ca­ti­on he­a­ring.

We will do w­ha­te­ver it ta­kes to en­s­u­re that jus­ti­ce is ser­ved in t­his ca­se and we will con­ti­nue sup­por­ting the mot­hers of the­se child­ren in their st­rug­gle to see jus­ti­ce being do­ne,” said TTS lo­cal or­ga­ni­ser Can­di­ce Lu­dick.

Ear­lier t­his y­e­ar, on 1 Au­gust, the mo­vement sub­mit­ted a list cal­led “24 De­mands” to Pre­si­dent Cy­ril Ra­map­ho­sa, and Lu­dick said it is im­por­tant to high­lig­ht de­mand num­ber 10 on their list, being con­sis­tent sen­ten­cing and en­for­ce­ment of ex­is­ting laws - in par­ti­cu­lar the mi­ni­mum sen­ten­cing le­gis­la­ti­on in sexu­al and do­mes­tic vi­o­lent ca­ses.

The group sub­mit­ted a pe­ti­ti­on with 1 566 sig­na­tu­res op­po­sing bail for the accu­sed pri­or to pro­cee­dings y­e­ster­day. “We are glad the po­li­ce ha­ve agreed to ta­ke cog­ni­zan­ce of sig­na­tu­res that will co­me from the on­li­ne pe­ti­ti­on as well,” said Lu­dick.

P­ho­to: N­wa­bi­sa Pon­do­yi

The accu­sed with his la­wy­er Carl Jep­pe (far left) in the Knys­na Ma­gi­stra­te’s Court y­e­ster­day 14 No­vem­ber. Acti­vis­ts from The To­tal S­hut­do­wn mo­vement ca­me out strongly a­gainst bail for the accu­sed, who may not be i­den­ti­fied until he has ple­a­ded.

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