Childline applauds decision to name, shame child offenders

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pretoria - Childline South Africa has hailed a decision to name and shame teachers convicted of sexual offences. 

This comes after the launch of the register exposing school teachers who are found guilty of harassing or having sex with their pupils. The South African Council of Educators (SACE) launched the service on its website on Monday, a day after the country celebrated Women's Day. 

All principals can do, is to enter the teacher's Identity number on the "query educator professional standing" page and if the teacher's name is displayed then it implies that the educator is no longer on the SACE register.

Childline South Africa Chief Executive Officer Dumisile Nala said such a register was long overdue adding that teachers who were found to be sexually abusing their pupils needed to be rooted out of the system. 

"I think having this register will send out some kind of message but the register alone does not address the needs of the child," said Ms Nala. 

She said while it was commended to name and shame the culprits, it was imperative that more support be given to the victims. 

"We've always advocated for these offenders to be named but that alone will not be enough, we need to come up with needs to help the child and prevent these incidents," Ms Nala said. 

She added that the teachers, though they need to be punished for their actions, needed to be helped to deal with their problem. 

"Sexual abuse is a problem in society and these teachers need to face their problem and be rehabilitated if possible," she said. 

The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) has also thrown its weight behind the action.

"Considering that teachers are supposed to act like parents to the pupils, it becomes a shame when they act against the very same kids," said Naptosa spokesperson Esra Ramasehla. 

He said naming the culprits would send out a message to all potential offenders that there was a price to pay for their actions. 

"What this is saying is that we cannot have this kind of a teacher in the system, it's a step in the right direction," said Mr Ramasehla.