More allegations of sexual assault against Soweto school guard

2017-10-13 21:58
(File, The Witness)

(File, The Witness)

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Cape Town – The number of pupils allegedly sexually assaulted by a school security guard in Soweto has increased to 87, the Gauteng department of education said on Friday afternoon. 

In a statement, provincial education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the department would continue to monitor the situation at the school. 

"It is disappointing that we keep receiving such depressing information from our officials who are hard at work conducting necessary counselling at the said school," Lesufi said.

Since the security officer was arrested on Monday on two charges of sexually assaulting two girls in Grade 2 and Grade 6 in February, several pupils have come forward with similar complaints.

On Wednesday the number increased to 54 and on Thursday the number stood at 83. 

The suspect briefly appeared in the Protea North Magistrate's Court on Wednesday afternoon. 

Lesufi said previously that the suspect, who is in his 50s and known to the community, was believed to have begun assaulting the children, in Grade R to 7, in February.

News24 has not published the name of the school to protect the identities of the pupils involved. 

On Thursday, the Gauteng education department removed the school's principal and entire senior management team. 

Departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona said an independent body had been established to look into all the allegations that levelled against the principal and management at the school.

He said the department would also be engaging with the school's governing body to establish reasons for why it should not be dissolved.

Mabona said the suspect was only arrested on September 26 after a grandparent reported an incident to the principal and all teachers were instructed to question the pupils.

The Commission for Gender Equality on Friday welcomed the removal of the school's principal and management team. 

The commission said it would ensure adequate interventions take place to protect "defenceless children in a place of learning".

"The commission is particularly worried [about] the secondary victimisation these learners suffered at the hands of those who were meant to protect them as there are allegations of a cover-up by the principal and senior management," spokesperson Javu Baloyi said in a statement. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education  |  child abuse

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