Teacher guilty of forcing HIV-test on pupil

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga department of health has found a teacher guilty of forcing an epileptic pupil to take an HIV test.

Suzette Gouws, a Grade 10 teacher at the Middelburg Combined School, pleaded guilty to two charges of misconduct during a disciplinary hearing.

She is alleged to have forced a 16-year-old girl to take the test after the pupil had suffered a seizure and scratched her as she fell.

The teacher bled after being scratched by the pupil, Thoko Hlatshwayo.

Gouws then took the girl for a test without the permission of her parents and the principal.

At the time, Judith Hlatshwayo, Thoko's mother, said Gouws had called her after the incident to ask for permission to take her daughter for a test to check if she had not infected her with Aids, but she had refused.

"I said no because an Aids test is confidential and an individual's secret. I was surprised when I was called by a doctor who informed me that my child was HIV-negative," she said.

She said she then asked her daughter what had happened and Thoko told her the teacher had forced her to take an Aids test because she might have infected her with HIV.

Hlahla Ngwenya, the education department spokesman, said Gouws pleaded guilty to charges of using her position to force a child to undergo an Aids test.

"The second charge was that she did not inform the principal when she took the girl for the test," said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya said judgment will be passed within five days.

Hlatshwayo said she was relieved that the case had been finalised.

"It is in my child's best interest to conclude this matter as soon as possible," she said.