Spe­cial needs pupil al­legedly mo­lested

The Mercury - - METRO - THAMI MAGUBANE & MHLENGI SHANGASE

THE Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has formed a com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing, in­clud­ing an al­le­ga­tion of the sex­ual abuse of a pupil at Vulekani Spe­cial School in uMz­imkhulu, south-west of Dur­ban.

Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Mthandeni Dlung­wana vis­ited the school yes­ter­day after al­le­ga­tions emerged at the sit­ting of Par­lia­ment of the Dis­abled.

The Mer­cury un­der­stands this is at least the sec­ond in­ci­dent in­volv­ing the al­leged sex­ual abuse of a pupil at the school.

In the first in­ci­dent, an of­fi­cial was al­legedly fired.

Dlung­wana said the depart­ment had in­ter­vened.

He de­clined to elab­o­rate, cit­ing the sen­si­tiv­ity of the case and the need to fol­low the depart­ment’s le­gal poli­cies.

“We came to the school be­cause of the many al­le­ga­tions, in­clud­ing sex­ual abuse. We found that there are such al­le­ga­tions. There are cer­tain ‘far-reach­ing’ de­ci­sions that we have taken to re­store learn­ing and the pub­lic’s faith in the school.”

DA spokesper­son on ed­u­ca­tion Dr Rishi­gen Viranna said in 2016 there was a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent at the school.

“Sex­ual as­saults of pupils is out of hand. It’s worse that it is hap­pen­ing in spe­cial schools as there are sup­posed to be ad­di­tional mea­sures to guard against such in­ci­dents,” he said.

IFP ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Them­beni Mad­lopha-Mthethwa said the depart­ment needed to pro­tect the pupils.

“The chil­dren them­selves can­not re­port what is hap­pen­ing to them, so the per­pe­tra­tors hardly get caught. Those who are caught al­ways come back.”

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