Rapist returns to school

2012-04-16 00:00

A HEADMASTER who has been sentenced to 18 years in jail for rape is back at his school while his case is on appeal.

And the pupil he raped on the school premises, near Hammarsdale, is suicidal, said her aunt.

School staff, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said he’s out to get those who testified against him during his trial.

While a criminal court found Nhlanhla Victor Mbongwe guilty, an Education Department hearing ruled that he was innocent on the grounds of lack of evidence.

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu said yesterday he was not aware of Mbongwe being back at the school, but stressed that the department would look into the matter urgently.

“The department has appealed against the decision made by the presiding officer that found the teacher not guilty as a result of shaky evidence,” he said.

Mchunu added that his office would look into whether it was proper for Mbongwe to be back at school, or whether he should be on suspension.

Meanwhile, the victim’s aunt said the schoolgirl had moved to another school since the rape in 2009.

“The child is not coping with this,” she said.

“She tried to commit suicide three times and in one instance she was admitted to hospital.

“She is getting counselling, but I don’t know what more we must do now as she is not coping.”

The girl is an orphan and lives with her grandmother.

“We feel that there is no justice in the Education Department as they have allowed him back to school,” the aunt said.

“He has been convicted and sentenced in a court of law.”

Teachers at the school said they feared for their safety.

“It’s not safe for the teachers who testified against him [in the Camperdown Magitsrate’s Court],”said one. “Even children won’t be able to report on him.”

They also said he was calling on teachers to apologise to him on behalf of those who “betrayed” him.

“There is tension in the staff room. He is dividing us. He says his mission is to take revenge on all those who testified against him.

“When he addresses staff he throws in his rape case and says he is back — sorry to all those who thought he would be in prison.”

Mbongwe could not be reached for comment.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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