PP steps in, has teacher fired

2013-03-13 00:00

PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela has succeeded in getting a teacher dismissed after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a pupil.

The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department continued to employ Mongameli Gcwabaza after he received a five-year suspended sentence in 2008, and even sent him back to the school where the attack took place.

The school cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the girl.

The case was handled at Taylors Halt police station in Elandskop in the Midlands.

Gcwabaza was dismissed last month after facing a disciplinary hearing. And he may also find himself registered as a sexual offender with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Gcwabaza was a primary school teacher at the time of his conviction. In 2010, he was found guilty by the high court in Pietermaritzburg and given a suspended sentence of five years, Madonsela’s office said in a statement.

Then he was transferred to the circuit office of the department, only to be sent back to the school where his victim received her education.

“The matter came to the attention of the Public Protector when a concerned parent of a student at the same school, but unconnected to the case, complained that Gcwabaza had been redeployed to the school, despite his conviction.

“This prompted an investigation, which later confirmed the complainant’s grievance,” said Kgalalelo Masibi, Public Protector spokesperson.

Muzi Mahlambi, education spokesperson, confirmed that Gcwabaza had been dismissed.

“It is true that he has been dismissed … so I don’t know what there is to write home about.”

The family of the victim could not be reached for comment.

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