This story was published in the print magazine in 2018.
He was a leader and an inspiration, a man the community regarded as a beacon of hope to uplift their children in the downtrodden, gang- ridden area. But behind the façade of the respected high school principal lay a dark side – a side revealed in a shocking series of videos and photographs of him having sex with learners and teachers at the school he’d been entrusted with.
The community of Reiger Park in Boksburg has been traumatised by the revelation that the headmaster – a husband and father of three kids, two still at school – had not only taken advantage of their children but apparently filmed himself performing the acts.
For 14 years the man was principal of Reiger Park No 2 Secondary School, in Joburg’s East Rand. Last month 11 video clips and several pictures of the esteemed principal having sex with young female learners and teachers in his office at the school went viral on social media.
The video clips were said to have been recorded between 2013 and 2015 and the learners in the films have since matriculated and left the school. They were shared on social media by an anonymous source and the disturbing images, which went viral throughout the country, have since been removed from the internet.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced the principal was summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee at the end of January. The principal had reportedly resigned from the school in October last year and was serving out his notice period when the scandal broke.
The community of Reiger Park has been shattered by the revelations. Speaking on condition of anonymity a former learner at the school who is now 25 says he never suspected anything like that could have taken place at the institution of learning.
“It’s a good school. It has a good passrate.
"We all looked up to the principal – he was always respectable and stylish in his suits, he drives a nice car and we thought he was setting a good example to our community. Now this.”
Another community member says he knows one of the former learners who appears in one of the videos. “She lives in my road and she grew up to be one of the prettiest girls in the neighbourhood. But after seeing that video we can’t even look at her,” he says.
The woman, who is now a model, didn’t want to speak to DRUM but said through a friend the incident had taken place a long time ago and she wanted to put it behind her.
The woman’s mother wouldn’t speak about it either. Relatives of a former teacher in one of the photographs say the scandal has affected her health.
“She stopped teaching because she fell ill and has shingles,” the relative tells us. Shingles, a condition that affects the nerve endings and causes a painful rash, is often brought on by periods of stress.
The family member says she was joking around with the principal when she showed him her underwear and didn’t realise he was taking a compromising picture with his phone. Since the picture went viral she hasn't left her house and has become severely depressed.
“That man was quick with the phone and she did not mean to do anything sexual with him,” says the family member. The angry community expected swift action to be taken against the principal but, weeks after the pictures and videos were circulated, no criminal charges have been laid against him by any of the people featured in the videos or by the education department.
Sergeant Mashudu Phathela of Reiger Park Police Station said no one had come forward to lay charges. “It is currently a departmental issue. We can’t do anything without a case being opened against the principal.
“The police can’t go hunting for the alleged victims – all we can do is wait for people to come forward.”
The former learners in the video don’t want to open a case against the principal. The police can’t open a case for the learners because they don’t know the students in the videos. Phathela warned that anyone found spreading any of the videos will be charged with distributing pornography and could be arrested.
Security is tight at the upmarket gated estate in Benoni where the former principal lives just a few kilometers from Reiger Park. At the entrance to the estate a security guard tells us the principal has given instructions that police are to be called if anyone comes asking for him. On entering the estate the DRUM team signs a register.
Unsure of which house belongs to the headmaster, we ask a passing schoolboy for directions. “My friends and I were talking about the videos we saw just now. But sorry, I can’t help you. Maybe you can ask someone else.”
After driving around for a while the security guard from the front gate pulls up alongside to ask if we have found who we were looking for. He says he’s been told not to allow anyone in to see the principal without calling first.
We follow him back to the gate where he calls the principal. While we are at the gate the principal drives into the estate and instructs the security guard not to allow us in. There are some who believe the principal is the subject of a smear campaign.
One community member, who doesn’t want to be named for fear of retribution, says the principal has supporters who believe the sex videos and pictures are an evil scheme to taint his image.
“He tells everyone the pictures and videos have been Photoshopped and that it’s not him doing those things and people believe him. These people are protecting him. “I had a meeting with him once in his office and I feel dirty just thinking of being there in that office where he had performed these sexual acts with children and teachers.
“I do feel sorry for his wife and his daughters. This thing is absolutely shocking!” Gauteng department of education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the matter was still being investigated. Raymond Tekana, the acting principal of the school, stresses the teachers and learners who appear in the videos are no longer at the school and the incidents happened three years ago.
“The matter put the school under a lot of pressure but things are back to normal,” he says. “The mood is fine, everything is calm and none of the current students at the school were involved in any irregularities.”