A Limpopo school teacher accused of raping a 17-year-old pupil at the weekend is considered a pillar of his community and pupils had put their hopes on him to help them pass matric.
The 33-year old teacher was arrested on Monday and appeared before the Bolobedu Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for the alleged rape of the girl from Ga-Ntata village near Ga-Mokwakwaila in the Modjadjiskloof area.
He is expected to reappear in the same court today for a formal bail hearing.
Spokesperson for the police in Limpopo, Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe, said the teacher was accused of raping the girl after offering to give her a lift from a village near Ga-Mokwakwaila to her home on Sunday night.
Ngoepe said that, instead, the man drove past the girl’s home to the community sports ground, where he allegedly assaulted her and raped her at about 9.30pm on Sunday.
“The girl later reported the matter to the police, who then arrested him and charged him with rape,” said Ngoepe.
During The Citizen’s visit to the school yesterday, the principal, Andreas Lathane, said both the teachers and pupils were shaken by the alleged incident.
Lathane said the teacher had taught mathematics and electrical technology to Grades 11 and 12.
“We had planned to produce excellent results in those subjects. But now that he has been denied bail, our dream of producing good results and passing matric with flying colours will remain a fantasy,” he said.
A Grade 12 pupil at the school described the teacher as an energetic man, who was always available to give extra lessons, even during weekends, to Grade 11 and 12 pupils.
A Grade 11 pupil described the teacher as someone who could think on his feet and who would not hurt a fly.
But trade union federation Cosatu and the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) did not agree.
Both the federation and the union said that if the allegation was found to be true, the teacher should be banned from the teaching fraternity and sent straight to jail.
The union’s chairperson, Motsusi Rabothata, said teachers were viewed as the second parents of pupils.
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful the pupil is and how old she looks.
“The fact remains that rape is a crime and sleeping with pupils is a very serious crime, tantamount to murder,” he said.
The Limpopo department of education said yesterday it was very disappointed.
Departmental spokesperson Sam Makonde said teachers should be role models in society, not engage in sexual interactions with the children they were supposed to guide and teach.
“We will support the police in their quest for justice in this matter,” he added.
The alleged rape comes barely a month after the 17 pregnant pupils at Mulaudzi Secondary School outside Polokwane accused some of their teachers of being responsible for the pregnancies.