17 October 2017

South Africa: Gauteng Education Probes Another Incident of Sexual Assault

The Gauteng Department of Education is investigating a rape incident involving a Grade 8 learner at a school in Benoni.

The incident apparently happened on Saturday at a farewell function outside the school at a park in Benoni.

"It is alleged ... the victim (Grade 8), who was under the influence of alcohol, was offered a toilet by the boy learner (Grade 10), who resides next to the said park. Subsequently, the boy allegedly raped the girl learner," said the department.

The boy has been arrested and released into his parents' custody.

The department said the school will suspend the boy pending a disciplinary hearing and counselling has been offered to both the affected learners. The victim will be placed in another school.

Investigations will continue into allegations that the perpetrator allegedly raped two other learners at the same school.

In a separate incident, the department confirmed allegations of sexual assault against a scholar patroller at a school function in Bronkhorstspruit.

It is alleged that the perpetrator took advantage of a Grade 12 learner, who was believed to be under the influence of alcohol, reportedly brought by three boys at the school function. It alleged the girl learner went missing and was found by an educator.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi met with the school's management on Monday.

The department said the school must terminate the patroller's services immediately and all the boys who brought alcohol to the school function must be suspended. The victim must also be placed in another school.

The department said the principal and a parent were initially turned away by the Mamelodi Police Station when they tried to open a case. However, the perpetrator was subsequently arrested on Monday and will appear in court on Wednesday.

"The department will provide the necessary support and counselling to all learners affected by this unfortunate incident. It is [important to] note that the school is one of our best performing schools and will be fully assisted accordingly."

Last week, at least 87 pupils at AB Xuma Primary School in Soweto alleged that they had been sexually assaulted by a scholar patroller. The 57-year-old man's services were terminated with immediate effect and an investigation into his appointment has been launched.

The school principal and the entire senior management has since been removed.

An independent body has been appointed to investigate all allegations levelled against the principal and her management team.

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