AB Xuma Primary School scholar patroller, Johannes Molefe, has been acquitted on three charges of rape and eleven of sexual assault which he allegedly committed in 2017.
News24 reports the judgment was handed down in the Palm Ridge Magistrate Court on Wednesday by acting Judge Peet Johnson.
In his judgment, Johnson said, after considering the state’s evidence and that of Molefe, it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Molefe was guilty and that the court was not convinced the state had proved its case.
The judge reportedly viewed the police and the state’s investigation into the matter as unsatisfactory.
Furthermore, the credibility of some witnesses was questioned by Johnson because their testimonies and statements had contradictions.
The judge reportedly said several errors were made during the trial.
The spokesperson for the Gauteng department of education (DoE) Steve Mabona told eNCA after the ruling the department was saddened by the outcome.
“But we need to respect the judgment because there was a lot of things that the judge indicated talking about … errors that were committed by the police, the prosecution, Teddy Bear during their process, including our officials,” Mabona said.
The DoE spokesperson said the judgment was an indication the department needed to train its educators on how to handle such cases.
“Because the judge was very clear that the process of taking learners into one classroom and asking them questions about their privacy, it was an issue for the judge,” Mabona said.
He added the judgment was particularly saddening for the parents of the alleged victims who had had to endure the traumatic experience.
“But we’ve been there. There was a task team that we formed which was supporting the parents, making sure that we update them on the latest developments, [going] to an extent of availing transportation,” Mabona said.
The department has enhanced its process of screening scholar patrollers following the allegations levelled against Molefe, and that the process is managed by community safety.