Old sex scandal leads to teacher's dismissal after his questionable return


A Cape Town teacher who was struck from the roll of educators after inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a pupil has been dismissed following his suspicious return to the classroom.

Arnold Robertson returned to teaching at a primary school in Bonteheuwel where he allegedly applied, using a professions council certificate issued 11 years ago.

The Western Cape Education Department confirmed the appointment was under investigation.

Until Monday, he was a teacher at Central Park Primary.

Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed to News24 that Robertson's appointment had been retracted.

The department's circuit manager handed him the required paperwork on Monday and saw him leave, she said.

Robertson, a former teacher at Stratford Primary in Eerste River, was sanctioned for misconduct in 2011.

'Smaaked' a student

He was first accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour in 2009, according to a report in the Weekend Argus three years ago.

According to the publication, reports compiled after hearings stated that he had told a female pupil he "smaaks" – or likes – her and that he became aroused when she was around him. In front of her friends in the classroom, he also allegedly said he wanted to have sex with her.

The report stated that he also suggested to his pupils that they watch pornography with their dads and speak about it, which he supposedly defended as sex education.

Then school principal Valarie Coetzee reportedly confronted Robertson who admitted to having sexual feelings towards the girl, it emerged during the hearings. Coetzee ostensibly felt obliged to report it because similar allegations have been levelled against him in the past. 

'Rehabilitation period'

Hammond confirmed to News24 that Robertson received a final written warning and two months' suspension without pay seven years ago.

The matter was referred to the SA Council of Educators which, after a disciplinary hearing, struck him from the roll.

The WCED terminated his services in terms of the Employment of Educators Act and he was deemed to have resigned, Hammond said.

Robertson took the matter on review to the Western Cape High Court.

"The judgment given was for SACE to register him on a three-month provisional registration and that he was supposed to provide proof of attendance of rehabilitation before any extension is given," said SACE spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu.

He could not immediately confirm if this documentation had been made available.

"The SACE views the matter very seriously [as well as] the allegations that he submitted a SACE registration certificate for employment."

Processes in place

Hammond said the WCED had processes in place when appointing new permanent staff. The vetting of new employees at a departmental level was done through external service providers.

Teachers are also required to produce a SACE certificate.

News24 visited the school on Monday to obtain comment from Robertson.

He was ostensibly at the school but unavailable at the time.

Requests for comment from him, the school and its governing body were referred to the provincial education department.

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