The provincial department of social welfare in KwaZulu-Natal has launched a high level probe into allegations that the head of a local creche and pre-school at Dundee forced a mentally disabled man and woman to have sex in full view of some of the children.
The matter is also under investigation by the SAPS family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.
The principal, who is in her 30s whose name or the name of het school cannot be revealed, faces charges of "compelled rape".
Department of social welfare spokesman Mandla Ngema yesterday said the harshest punishment should be meted out to the principal if it is determined that she made arrangements for the two to have sex.
"We strongly condemn such incidents," Ngema said. "It is disgusting to think that such an incident can happen at a creche. How can one now be sure of the safety of little children?"
He said angry community members reported the matter to the local chief after hearing it from the victims.
The chief contacted social workers who contacted the department. A source in the community, who did not want to be named, said the incident happened two weeks ago and the community spoke in hushed tones about it.
"The matter was secretly discussed because the victims are mentally disabled but when the chief heard about it he took it to a higher level," Ngema said.
"The department immediately started an investigation. We have the best interest of the children and the disabled people at heart. We want to send a strong message that this kind of incident will not be tolerated.
He said the two victims are mentally disabled and known to everyone in the community. The man worked as a gardener and a caretaker at the creche.
Police said the incident took place on Tuesday and was being probed by the special violent crimes unit.
The female victim was walking near the creche when the principal allegedly called her to the office, where the incident reportedly happened.
Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said he had no exact details because the investigating officer could not be reached.