Thuto Lesedi Secondary School pupils have insinuated that a lack of sanitation and poor hygiene has led to pupils sharing a limited number of toilets at the Vosloorus school, which may have resulted in an alleged rape.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi met with the school management, as well as pupils representing the Representative Council of Learners (RCL), on Tuesday. This as two Grade 12 pupils appeared before a disciplinary hearing for allegedly raping a Grade 9 pupil on July 25.
The pupil, who has since returned to the school, was allegedly dragged to the boys' toilet by the matric boys.
While the incident happened almost 20 days ago, the RCL expressed their disappointment that the school management had not informed them about it and that it had only come to their attention at a later stage.
"The toilets are out of order. There is no sanitation and poor hygiene because some others do not have water running, and that is why we ended up sharing one toilet, and I think that's the root cause," a pupil told Lesufi.
Another said that, when they complained to school management about issues at the school, there were no follow-ups, which made problems worse. They added that they feared reporting crime at the school because the bullies would come for them.
"They are bullying us, we are scared of them. The teachers can't do anything and that's why we don't speak," another pupil said.
Lesufi requested that the pupils anonymously write down the names of bullies and submit them to him. He informed them that they would be giving counselling to everyone and pleaded that the victim be supported.
He informed the pupils that he would seek an explanation from the school regarding the issue of toilets as a matter of urgency.
Lesufi also told the pupils that the incident had led to the department placing it in the bottom 21 schools that are problematic in the province.
These schools in Gauteng are those where the department works with the police to rid them of drugs and weapons.
"We are putting the name of your school amongst the bottom 21 schools in the province and it won't be nice.
"What this means is that you will start seeing police with dogs, searching all of you. The bottom 21 schools we want to clean with the police," Lesufi said.
An outcome of the disciplinary hearing for the two matriculants is expected to be released on Friday.
Charges of rape against the two were dropped after a prosecutor declined to proceed with the case because of inconsistencies in a statement.