MEC Panyaza Lesufi reveals third Gauteng school sexual assault allegation in two weeks
As Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was preparing to visit a Mamelodi school in Pretoria on Monday to attend to a second incident of alleged school sexual assault in a week‚ he received news that a schoolgirl had been raped during a school outing at the weekend.
The MEC broke the news at Mahube Valley Secondary School‚ where a 17-year-old was allegedly raped by a 28-year-old guard during a matric ball in a Bronkhorstspruit lodge over a week ago.
Lesufi said that at around 5am‚ as he was preparing to visit Mahube Valley Secondary School‚ he received a frantic text message from a guardian in Benoni telling him that her niece had been raped and that police were refusing to investigate.
“I do not have full details as yet‚ but we are sending a team there to get the full information. What is shocking is that police chased the parents away when they went to police station to report the incident. The parent said that police were dragging their feet‚ and it was only when she got in touch with me that there was movement from the police‚” he said.
Last week a 58-year-old man‚ also a guard at the school‚ was arrested in Soweto after allegedly molesting at least 87 learners.
Lesufi said he became aware of the Mamelodi incident on Thursday‚ after receiving a message from a parent who alleged the school was trying to sweep the matter under the carpet.
He said the department immediately dispatched members of the intervention team to the school‚ saying he was shocked by the team’s initial report.
Lesufi said that according to the report‚ the matric learners had a ball in a Bronkhorstspruit lodge on September 29‚ and the principal was surprised to see the guard at the venue‚ as he had not been invited.
“Later on‚ at around 2am‚ the (school management team) tasked with watching over the learners conducted a roll call‚ and one learner could not be accounted for. There were indications where she might be‚ and the team went looking for her‚” he said.
According to Lesufi‚ the guard had organised a separate room for himself and the learner‚ saying the learner was found in the company of the guard and the guard was “caught on the act”.
He said a case has since been opened against the guard‚ and that the guard was expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
Lesufi said he was considering removing guards from the province’s schools‚ saying: “I would rather not have guards‚ than for them hurt my learners.”
He also said they were looking at overhauling the vetting system for the guards‚ to ensure more stringent selection processes‚ adding that the guard at the Mamelodi school was said to be in relationships with two other learners at the school.
Lesufi would‚ however‚ not be drawn into commenting on allegations that the learner was in a relationship with the guard.
He did say: “We are also told that where (the guard) comes from‚ he had a string of relations with learners.”