Valhalla Primary School assault case: Suspect granted R8 000 bail

2019-02-14 12:48
Valhalla Primary School.

Valhalla Primary School. (Twitter)

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A Valhalla Primary School teacher who is facing 24 counts of sexual assault has been granted R8 000 bail.

The 55-year-old has managed to convince the Pretoria Magistrate's Court to grant him bail and that he will not abscond or intimidate victims or witnesses. He has been requested to hand in his passport. 

The Gauteng department of education has placed him on precautionary suspension with pay. 

The suspect is expected back in court on March 7 while investigations into his alleged conduct continue.

READ: Valhalla primary sex assault case: More charges could be added to teacher's list

The investigating officer, Johannes Mkhondo, on Wednesday submitted to the court that he was still interviewing possible victims, which may see more charges added onto the accused's charge sheet.

The latest development was not welcomed by the Gauteng education department. 

"As the department we are obviously devastated. We really believe that it (suspect's release) would put the lives and the evidence of the 20 learners at risk. [But] we have got confidence in the justice system," MEC for Gauteng education Panyaza Lesufi told News24. 

Lesufi said the department was, however, hopeful that the matter would be treated with caution to avoid a situation similar to the AB Xuma Primary School case. 

"It's a very serious matter. We have almost 20 learners coming forward and we do not want to go back where we were, where we had a patroller who was also accused but was set free purely because of mistakes that were made by the law enforcement agencies," he said. 

Former AB Xuma Primary School scholar patrol guard, Johannes Molefe, 58, was acquitted in December 2018 of three counts of rape and 11 of sexual assault in the Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.

Abuse allegations

The alleged abuse at Valhalla Primary School in Centurion came to light in January when members of the Tshwane Metro Police Department visited the school to teach pupils about abuse.

Pupils confided in the officers, alleging that the suspect was inappropriately touching them. The officer informed the principal who alerted the district office.

The teacher joined the school in 2017. He was then permanently appointed in January 2019 by the department.

The incidents date back to 2017 and 2018, according to police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

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