Teacher’s Union - “More needs to be done to stop teachers from raping children”

By Drum Digital
09 February 2017

A Mpumalanga teacher receives life sentence for raping child but officials say its not enough.

A Mpumalanga teacher, Elphas Ndlovu, was sentenced to life imprisonment following his conviction on a rape charge by the Piet Retief Regional Court this week.

According to the South African Police Service, parents reported him to the police after he failed to pay traditional damages for impregnating the 15-year old girl.

The incident occurred in 2001 however, the family only reported him the following year.

Basil Manual , the president of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), says we will continue to have teachers that rape school children because they get away with it.

“The difficulty is that nobody walks around with a label around their neck saying, ‘I am a paedophile’, so we only get to discover this once a child has been victimised,” he says.

Manual tells DRUM that these perpetrators are highly skilful and often move from one province to another.

“Some resign before they get caught out and others could be charged by the Department of Education, however, only through internal disciplinary measures,” he adds. “The Department cannot open a  case, it is up to the child and the parents to go to the police.”

Themba Ndlovu, spokesperson at the South African Council of Educators, says while they have access to the sexual offenders’ register, it is also difficult to get access to the register. It lists people who are unfit to work with children.

“We have a problem with people being employed by the Provincial Department of Education who are not properly screened. They are employed without being registered as teachers or they lie and do not declare if they have a criminal case or pending disciplinary process against them,” he says.

“This man has brought disrepute to our profession and we are working hand in hand with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to have access to the register,” he adds.

Manual says parents should not accept bribes from teachers who rape their children and accept cash for silence.

“The silence around this issue is deafening because many children don’t want to be identified as victims, and people in communities can be cruel and stigmatise you.”

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