TEACHER unions in KwaZulu-Natal have called for tougher action against teachers who sexually abuse pupils.
The call follows yet another rape incident allegedly committed by a teacher at a school in KwaNongoma in the north of the province.
The teacher accused of having sex with a pupil and of sexually molesting two others appeared in court yesterday.
He was arrested last Thursday at his rented room at the former KwaQqikazi College of Education.
It is also alleged that he had raped and touched the genitals of the two other girls. He had also allegedly persuaded them to have sex with him on various occasions.
Police spokesperson Vusi Mbatha yesterday confirmed that the teacher was arrested and appeared in court on Friday. He was expected to appear for bail application yesterday.
Mbatha said the three pupils - aged 17, 19 and 23 - had opened cases of rape at the Nongoma police station.
"The police are appealing for any other pupils who were victims of rape by the same teacher to approach the nearest police station to lay a charge," Mbatha said.
Provincial department of education spokesperson Mbali Thusi confirmed that the teacher had been suspended until the cases against him were finalised.
"We have taken the decision to suspend the teacher until the charges against him are finalised.
"If he is cleared of these charges we will gladly reinstate him, but until then we are going to let the law take its course," Thusi said.
The National Teachers Union (Natu) described the alleged rape of pupils in schools as a disgrace to the profession.
Natu's Allen Thompson said if the allegations against the teacher are proved to be true, they would be very disappointed and would want the law to prevail.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union also expressed shock at the rape allegations involving the teacher.
The latest incident happened just a few months after about 20 girls at Makhumbuza High School in Umlazi, south of Durban, implicated five teachers in a sex scandal in April.