THE Mpumalanga education department has fired a teacher who allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old pupil.
But Juda Leballo, a teacher at Sele Secondary in Kameelpoort near KwaMhlanga, is challenging his dismissal because the rape case was withdrawn by the police.
Leballo, of Nokaneng village, was arrested earlier this year after he allegedly forced himself on a Grade 11 pupil from the neighbouring Seabe Secondary school.
Though the victim's family decided to drop charges against Leballo, the department yesterday kicked him out of the profession.
Departmental spokesperson Jasper Zwane said: "We instituted disciplinary hearings on Leballo in line with the legislative framework that governs his employment.
"The victim participated in that process assisted by an intermediary and evidence that was tabled before the hearing warranted that he should be dismissed from this noble profession," Zwane said.
He said the matter was reported to the South African Council for Educators to struck the teacher off the roll.
"This is a clear indication that the department takes issues of abuse of pupils very seriously."
According to the police Leballo was arrested on Valentine's Day after he had asked the pupil in an SMS to spend some "quality time" together on February 14 and she went with him.
The victim lives about 10km from the teacher's village of Nokaneng.
"The accused drove to the victim's place but later, when she wanted to go home, took her to his own house.
"The victim claims he raped her there," said police spokesperson Constable Hastings Chaane.