Joburg teacher suspended amid sexual harassment allegations

2019-09-06 17:56
Panyanza Lesufi addresses girl learners of Queens High School

Panyanza Lesufi addresses girl learners of Queens High School (Azarrah Karrim)

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A teacher at Queens High School in Johannesburg has been suspended pending an investigation amid allegations of sexual harassment, with Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Friday urging pupils to come forward to assist with the probe. 

"I had an opportunity to speak to the young girls that... posted on their Twitter account about what has been happening at the school. I was touched by their stories," Lesufi said.

The school has been rocked by the allegations made by both current and past pupils, as well as parents. 

Former pupil Sherizaad Akoo, 19, addressed the girls during an assembly and told her story, saying that she had been harassed by the teacher for five years.

She appealed to the pupils to be brave and come forward.

The investigation will be a joint operation by the Human Rights Commission, the Teddy Bear Clinic, the Gauteng Department of Basic Education and the SA Council of Educators.

Lesufi said additional allegations had been received by the South African Human Rights Commission, as well as a detailed report of the exchange of messages between the teacher and some of the pupils.

"We felt that they [SAHRC] should continue their investigation as well, because at least with them they have the power to subpoena," Lesufi said.

The department would cooperate with the investigation and provide all the information they required, he vowed.

"I’m not an expert, but if you have those kinds of allegations, for somebody who has been working at the school for more than eight years, you tend to ask yourself what happened to other girls [who] went through the system?" Lesufi said.

"If school premises are not the safest for our children as a society, we would have failed these girls."  

Read more on:    sahrc  |  panyaza le­sufi  |  sexual assault

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