DA calls for inquiry into sexual abuse in Gauteng schools

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The Democratic Alliance has repeated its call for a commission of inquiry to probe the extent of sexual abuse in Gauteng schools and to establish a toll-free line for pupils to report sexual abuse in schools.

The DA strongly condemned the disgusting behaviour displayed by a Reiger Park High School principal after videos and photos went viral on social media of him allegedly having sex with pupils in his office, DA Gauteng MPL Khume Ramulifho said on Saturday.

“It is an absolute disgrace that a principal who is supposed to be a true leader, a guardian and a shield to protect these learners from abuse within and outside the school premises, is engaged in this type of behaviour,” he said.

“We welcome this sex-pest principal’s immediate resignation from his post. However, he must not go unpunished for stripping these learners of their innocence and needs to face the full might of the law.”

The principal should be named and shamed for destroying the future and the dignity of pupils and be registered as a sexual offender. He should also be banned from ever working with children again, Ramulifho said.

“For far too long, the Gauteng Premier David Makhura and the Gauteng Department of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi have ignored the DA’s call to establish a commission of inquiry to probe the extent of sexual abuse in Gauteng schools and to establish a tollfree line for learners to report sexual abuse in schools.”

The DA made this call in 2017 after more than 87 pupils were allegedly sexually abused by patrollers in Soweto schools.

“This problem is clearly far bigger than what we initially thought and requires greater intervention than the premier’s task team. There is no timeline and no communication with regards to the findings of this task team and when its investigations will be completed.”

Sexual abuse in Gauteng schools went beyond allegations against the patrollers, as it also involved principals and educators. The problem of violence against pupils had infiltrated every level of the education system. A commission of inquiry was the only way to deal with “this pandemic”, he said.

The DA also condemned those circulating the videos and pictures of the principal having sex with pupils, as it violated the rights of these children.

Possession of child pornography, as well as distributing it, is a criminal offence and charges could be laid against those breaking on the wrong side of this law.

Psychological counselling should be provided to the victims and their families.

“Our learners are the future leaders of this country and it is within their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution to be protected against any sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and child pornography,” Ramulifho said.

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