Gauteng Education deals with sexual assault cases

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Gauteng Education Department says about six out of 11 disciplinary cases of sexual assault have been concluded, and the remaining five are under investigation.

The department on Friday said all implicated educators were removed from their respective schools, pending finalisation of their disciplinary proceedings.

Of the six that have been dealt with, about three educators were dismissed, one was found not guilty, another one has been placed on two months suspension without salary, and another educator has resigned.

The department said learners have access to psychological services provided by District Based Support Teams, which are linked with Non-government Organisations (NGOs) and other government departments to provide counselling services to abused learners.

Referrals are also done to specialist organisations such as Teddy Bear Clinic, Childline, Kidz Clinic and Child Welfare.

The department has assured the public that it has zero tolerance towards sexual harassment.

“We strongly condemn any acts of sexual misconduct in schools and always encourage learners to report such incidents to the relevant authorities at schools accordingly.

Such cases are reported to the department and upon receipt we always act immediately for appropriate action to be taken.

The department’s MEC Panyaza Lesufi said sexual assaults will never be tolerated at Gauteng schools, and warned that perpetrators will always be dealt with harshly.

“It is our responsibility to protect our children, especially a girl child. I am comforted that out of all reported cases, disciplinary steps were immediately taken and that all those found guilty were dismissed while those under investigation were removed from their respective schools pending the outcome of their disciplinary cases,” said the MEC.

According to education legislation, sexual relations between educators and learners are forbidden, even if learner/s consents to sex.

It is imperative that educators, learners and parents have a legal and ethical obligation to report such cases to the relevant authorities, for a prompt action.

“We always continue to call upon all educators to refrain from all types of misconduct because educators should lead by example to ensure that learners mirror their conduct in creating a safe school environment, conducive for effective teaching and learning at all times.

“Any transgressions will be promptly investigated and the department will deal with the perpetrators in accordance with relevant prescripts.”- SAnews.gov.za

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