Wynberg Girls' boarding mother 'not guilty'

2017-02-09 13:42
The superitendent at Wynberg girls high school has been founf not guilty following the allegations last year however she has decided to terminate her contract

The superitendent at Wynberg girls high school has been founf not guilty following the allegations last year however she has decided to terminate her contract (Tiyese Jeranji)

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A Wynberg Girls’ High School boarding house superintendent has been found not guilty following allegations posted on social media last year.

Following a statement that was circulated on social networks lambasting her and her alleged incompetency to be the house mother, the School Governing Body (SGB) commissioned an independent investigation into the allegations.

Despite her being found not guilty, she has decided to terminate her contract with the school due to the operational requirements of the hostel and the school. In total, there were 19 allegations against the superintendent.  

After interviewing a wide cross section of learners and hostel staff, Advocate Diane Davis submitted a written report to the SGB containing her findings and recommendations. The statement reads that the chief finding in the report is that the superintendent had not broken the law. 
“More particularly, she has not committed sexual assault or harassment, emotional abuse, theft, hate speech, racial discrimination or unlawful breaches of confidentiality or privacy, all of which she stood accused of by certain learners in Waterloo House,” it reads.
Davis found that the learners at Waterloo House had a legitimate cause for complaint, however, regarding inconsistent treatment and the lack of a uniform set of rules and disciplinary code. It was also recommended that the school appoint a Xhosa-speaking superintendent.
School principal, Shirley Harding, confirms the school now has a new superintendent and that things "are going well".

Provincial minister of education, Debbie Schäfer, says the department conducted an investigation into the matter.

The school also commissioned an independent investigation, the report of which they have submitted to her and the HOD.

"The superintendent has been found not guilty. Probably the two most serious allegations were that the superintendent had referred to black learners using a racist term in an incident that had occurred at the beginning of last year and that she had touched learners inappropriately," Schäfer says.

"Both of these allegations were found to be without foundation. In the case of the first, the superintendent had in fact called a meeting with the girls because of language she had heard when the girls were speaking to each other. According to one version, the superintendent said she had heard the girls calling each other the 'k' word.  In another, the superintendent allegedly said the word the girls were using was as bad as if she had called them the 'k' word. At no stage did the superintendent call anybody by that term.  

"It is clear from both investigations that this case is a classic example of the kind of hysteria that can be whipped up by people who are irresponsible and have no regard to the reputation damage they can cause to others," she says.


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