Sexual violence declines in schools, says MEC

Johannesburg – During Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s visit to the Thuto Lesedi Secondary School in Vosloorus, where a 16-year-old pupil was allegedly assaulted and raped by two boys; he said while there have been incidents of violence in schools in the past two months, cases of sexual violence on school premises has declined.

  “The cases that we have are indeed worrying. Since the beginning of this year, I don’t think we have got more than 70 cases. We have 2.3 million learners and the majority is well behaved. It is unfortunate that they have to be brushed with one brush as learners not behaving well,” Lesufi said.

  He said he had engaged with school governing body (SGB) members and principals, discussing issues of sexual abuse, and could assure that there was a decline.

  Lesufi said the challenge with such cases in schools is how officials deal with them. Teachers and management at the Ekurhuleni school have been accused of not following protocol when dealing with the case, and not providing details immediately to the department on the circumstances of the incident.

  Lesufi said the SGB and district would now have to account as to why protocol was not followed. Charges of rape were laid against two matric pupils but were dropped because the prosecutor declined to proceed with the case owing to inconsistencies in a statement.  “The department will now go back to the drawing board as it is believed that the school, the police, district officials and NPA had let it down in the way it handled the matter.”

  Among other issues, Lesufi said Gauteng schools were dealing with was the infestation of drugs on premises. Allegations that some pupils deal in drugs on school premises and recruit younger peers have been made.

  “Reality is that it is impossible to have security personnel stationed at all schools in the province, even though the department would be pleased to implement such a system. I don’t have the budget to do so and I don’t want to create a false expectation that we have got the capability, skill, talent and resources to search every learner who comes to our school premises,” Lesufi said.

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