Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi after having a closed door meeting with the principal of a Mamelodi secondary school where a learner was allegedly sexually assaulted. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

In The News South Africa

Gauteng Education dogged by a string of alleged student rape cases

PRETORIA, October 16 – Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi was on Monday dealing with two incidents of alleged sexual assault on learners — one in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, and another one in Benoni, in Ekurhuleni. 

“This [Mamelodi alleged rape] case adds to the pain that we are already going through, in terms of the school [where at least 87 learners were allegedly molested] in Soweto, [Johannesburg]. Sadly, journalists, it is unfortunate this morning, I got another report of another girl child that was raped over the weekend during a school tour in Benoni. We are going through these difficulties simply because, we believe that other people, when they are assigned these responsibilities, they are not taking their responsibilities,” Lesufi said addressing the media.
“I’m not aware about what happened where I am going, I am going to that [Benoni] school immediately after this. I can tell you, the child that could have been raped in that school was under our care, and someone didn’t take care of their responsibilities. It is something we need to attend. The investigation that is at the school in Orlando [Soweto], the investigation that is going to come here, and the investigation of the school that I am going to in Benoni, we are going to consolidate those reports to assist us to deal with these kind of events.” 
He said radical action, including doing away with the matric or Christmas festivities, could be implemented. 
Lesufi was at the Pretoria school on Monday morning, where a school guard, aged 24, has now been arrested for sexually molesting a female learner. 
Authorities at the school told Lesufi that the guard was found having sexual intercourse with the pupil on the sidelines of a matric ball event.
“The report that we received indicated that when educators did a headcount, or when they were looking for the learner, they were advised on where she could be. It looks like the guard had arranged a separate venue, closer to where the matric ball was being hosted. When teachers went there, the report I got is that they indeed caught the guard in the act,” Lesufi said.
“Why he later denied [it], is what our investigation team will work on. That is the part which shocked me. I don’t want to cast aspersions on the learner. Reality is that someone [the school guard] was not supposed to be there, he was there and we now know he committed an act that is completely unacceptable.”
Regarding widespread rumours that the 17-year-old learner was involved in a love affair with the guard, and that the sex was consensual, Lesufi said he was not an authority on that aspect.
“We have received that information, that there is an element to portray it as consensual sex, and that it was a boyfriend and girlfriend relation — I’m not fit and proper to argue that. We have also received information that there are two other girls that are accused of being in relationships with the [same] guard as well. Our full investigation will verify that information,” said Lesufi.
He said information has also emerged that the security guard had numerous love affairs with learners at a school where he previously volunteered. He is now set to appear in court on Wednesday.
Last week, the Gauteng department of education announced that the number of pupils sexually assaulted at the Soweto school, allegedly by a guard, has increased to 87.
The department confirmed that the principal and the entire senior management of the primary school had been removed from the institution of learning with immediate effect following sexual assault allegations of learners by the scholar patroller.

The 24-year-old school guard, accused of sexually molesting a Pretoria secondary school learner, was found having sexual intercourse with the pupil during a matric ball event, Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi said on Monday.
“The report that we received indicated that when educators did a headcount, or when they were looking for the learner, they were advised on where she could be. It looks like the guard had arranged a separate venue, closer to where the matric ball was being hosted. When teachers went there, the report I got is that they indeed caught the guard in the act,” Lesufi said addressing journalists at the school in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria.
“Why he later denied [it], is what our investigation team will work on. That is the part which shocked me. I don’t want to cast aspersions on the learner. Reality is that someone [the school guard] was not supposed to be there, he was there and we now know he committed an act that is completely unacceptable.”
Regarding widespread rumours that the 17-year-old learner was involved in a love affair with the guard, and that the sex was consensual, Lesufi said he was not an authority on that aspect.
“We have received that information, that there is an element to portray it as consensual sex, and that it was a boyfriend and girlfriend relation — I’m not fit and proper to argue that. We have also received information that there are two other girls that are accused of being in relationships with the [same] guard as well. Our full investigation will verify that information,” he said after a meeting with the school management, political parties, and community members.
Lesufi said information has also emerged that the security guard had numerous love affairs with learners at a school where he previously volunteered.
Lesufi narrated the circumstances which led to the sexual intercourse between the security guard and the learner.
“The principal has reported that the school left on September 29, for a matric ball at a Bronkorspruit lodge. The event started at around 9pm and the formal activity came to an end around midnight. It was around 2am that indeed something happened and they [teachers] interviewed the learner, but she said nothing happened,” Lesufi told journalists.
“Of great concern is that the CPF [community policing forum] patroller was not invited to be part of the school activity. When he was politely asked by the school principal what he was doing there [at the matric ball], he said he had asked for permission from his brother and he had been borrowed a car to the event.”
Lesufi said when the school term resumed, the principal called the learner to her office, and this time the pupil cracked.
“The learner was very unhappy that the principal wanted to notify the parents. They went to open a case the following day, and unfortunately the police station turned them back, saying they must go to another police station in Bronkorspruit. I’m emphasising that point because I am completely disgusted with it. Take into consideration the timelines, we needed to protect every timeline for the purpose of gathering evidence,” he said.
“When the case was [finally] opened, that is when the police started to move — to interview the a the relevant people. As a department we unleashed our psycho-social services to provide the relevant support and services to both the parent and the learner, to ensure that all matters are attended to.”
On Monday morning, scores of activists were gathering at the school, Lesufi’s arrival.
Scores of women in T-shirts written “Siyavuma” [translated to ‘we agree’], “CR17” and ANC were at the school ahead of Lesufi’s arrival. Several members Congress of SA Students (Cosas)  and #NotInMyName support group were also at the school.
#NotInMyName’s Themba Masango said his organisation has had interactions with the learner, and provided support.

 

Scores of activists were gathering at a Mamelodi secondary school, east of Pretoria on Monday, ahead of Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi MEC Lesufi’s visit following reports of sexual assault on a learner.

Scores of women in T-shirts written “Siyavuma”, “CR17” and ANC were at the school ahead of Lesufi’s arrival.

Several members Congress of SA Students (Cosas)  and #NotInMyName support group were also at the school.

#NotInMyName’s Themba Masango said his organisation has had interactions with the learner, and provided support.
Around 11 am, Lesufi arrived at the school and began his meeting with school officials and provincial education officials.

In another horrific revelation it emerged last week that the number of pupils sexually assaulted at a Soweto school allegedly by a scholar patroller had increased to 87.

“It is disappointing that we keep receiving such depressing information from our officials who are hard at work conducting necessary counselling at the said school,” Lesufi said.

 

ANA

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