Four teachers implicated in alleged incidents of racial misconduct and sexual abuse at Johannesburg’s Parktown Boys’ High School will be placed on precautionary suspension before the end of the week.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi made this announcement during a visit to the school yesterday, during which he addressed pupils.
Allegations against a former waterpolo coach of sexually grooming at least 20 pupils in 2015 came to light last year. They were recently exacerbated by allegations that some of the boys, aged between 12 and 16, were being victimised by teachers after they came forward with the information.
The alleged perpetrators are two teachers employed by the department of education, as well as two others employed by the school governing body (SGB).
“We are on course to protect public education. The culture of silence in the school has impeded the gathering of evidence,” Lesufi told pupils at the school yesterday.
He also shared the outcome of the investigation with the pupils and highlighted that a disciplinary hearing would be held at a later stage for the four teachers.
Emphasising the importance of speaking out, Lesufi urged pupils to break the culture of silence and speak out against any violation.
He said they must report cases without the fear of being victimised.
“There was an allegation that pupils were smeared with Deep Heat on their private parts. No evidence was found but we strongly believe that the culture of silence might have played a major role,” he said.
“There was also an allegation that strippers were brought to the school hostel night parties, of which no evidence was found.”
The sale of alcohol on the school’s premises was also criticised by Lesufi.
“The liquor licence granted to the bar needs to be revoked. The bar is located within the school precinct,” he said.
Lesufi reiterated the importance of a clear division between the roles and responsibilities of the department, the SGB and the school’s management team to ensure that lines were not blurred.