South Africa: Sexual Assault Charges Against Teacher Dropped After Five Postponements

Photo: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo).

The charges against a teacher accused of sexual assault at Thandokhulu High School in Mowbray, Cape Town, were withdrawn on Tuesday.

The trial against Ayanda Ntuthu could not start in the Wynberg Sexual Offences Court because prosecutor Xolani Ncobo said he could not locate the witnesses because the investigating officer was on leave. He asked for the case to be postponed. Ntuthu's lawyer objected as this was the sixth postponement. Magistrate Nontuthuzelo Ralarala then withdrew the charges.

Ntuthu is accused of touching a learner on his private parts during a sleepover at the school in May 2017. He has also been accused of hitting another learner with a belt, an allegation supported by the following video that GroundUp published last year.

Video by unknown. GroundUp has blurred the face of the student in the forefront of the video.

An internal investigation by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) found Ntuthu not guilty.

In August 2017, learners protested outside the school, calling for the teacher to be suspended and for the WCED to explain why he had been found not guilty.

Ntuthu was released from police custody on R1,000 bail on 31 August and was ordered not to contact any witnesses. At his last court appearance on 18 January, the state postponed the matter for a fifth time to collect an outstanding witness statement.

Ntuthu's lawyer, who refused to give her name, said the state had enough time to "get their things in order".

"We were ready for trial today ... It has been five months since my clients last appearance. That gave the state enough time to get their things in order. My client was present at every court hearing," she said.

She told the court Ntuthu "is employed and has a fixed address", should the state reinstate the charges.

It is unclear whether the state will be pursuing the matter.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: GroundUp

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.