9 April 2019

South Africa: Durban School Principal Suspended After Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Photo: Musa Binda/GroundUp
Department of Education KZN officials - Provincial Operational Manager Thembelihle Gumede, MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana, Head of Department Dr Enock Nzama and Deputy Director General Nathi Ngcobo - during their visit at Carrington Heights Primary.

Teaching has resumed at Carrington Heights Primary School after its principal was officially suspended on Tuesday.

MEC for Education in Kwazulu-Natal Mthandeni Dlungwana made the announcement after visiting the school.

The school principal is accused of sexually harassing women teachers, who say the abuse has been going on for years. Teachers say they were made to strip naked in his office.

Dlungwana said, "I'm concerned as to why the district officials didn't take any action in this matter because the harassed teachers have told us that they reported the matter a long time ago to the district. We are not only going to investigate allegations against the principal, we are going to demand answers from the officials as to what they did when the teachers reported the matter to them."

He said should it emerge that officials protected the principal, as he had boasted, the department would deal with them.

The alleged abuse became public after leaders of the Simunye branch of the South African Democratic Teachers Union protested on Monday and shut the school.

Karabo Ramathola of SADTU said: "We are happy that the department has taken action against him immediately."

One of the teachers, who says she was harassed, said, "I am happy that he was suspended. I was edging closer to resigning because the matter was draining me emotionally as we have cried out to the district but our cries were not loud enough."

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