Johannesburg – Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says Parktown Boys High remains one of the best schools in the province, despite an alleged sexual misconduct incident.
"I rate your school as one of the best performing schools in the province, sport or academic. We need to protect that, so that no one can tamper with that history," Lesufi told a packed school hall on Tuesday morning.
Lesufi said the department was saddened by what happened at the school, saying any school premises should be a place of happiness, education and joy.
The school made headlines after it emerged that a 22-year-old assistant water polo coach, who was also an assistant boarding master, had allegedly sexually assaulted more than 20 boys.
The man, who appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court earlier this month, has been accused of sexually grooming children, sexual assault and assault.
The school's governing body previously denied claims that it failed to inform the Gauteng education department about the sexual assault claims.
The school immediately informed its governing body and the police, SGB chairperson Nicholas Greyling previously said in a statement.
On November 3, 2016, a teacher looking at CCTV camera footage of the school's hostel saw the man making inappropriate physical contact with a boy in a common room.
Police were contacted and the alleged perpetrator was arrested that evening.
Lesufi said the matter was not appropriately reported to them and that the department had put a formal protocol forward to report these incidents.
He said the team district went deeper into the matter to see how it was reported, and investigated the incident and all that were affected.
"Sexual harassment is a serious matter, if you have 20 learners involved, you can't report it to the police station and fold your arms. We felt that we needed to activate the full might of the law," Lesufi said.
'Only person in charge is Panyaza Lesufi'
Lesufi also referred to the number of women that are being killed in the country recently.
"The country has turned against its own women. I don't want that, I want you to be protected. Any other person who feels he is in charge of this school, you must tell him that the only person in charge is Panyaza Lesufi."
Lesufi said the matter was now water under the bridge.
"I am convinced now that learners know when to report and how to report these incidents. They also know now that they need to support each other."
Lesufi also wished the boys well ahead of the upcoming exams.
"Go and enjoy exams and be assured you got support. Discipline and respect must be maintained [so] that these young boys must become the best."
WATCH: Lesufi clarifies that 'teacher' accused of sexually abusing pupils was not a teacher at school