Nine more girls accuse teachers of sexual abuse

Nine more victims of the Makhumbuza High School sex scandal in Umlazi have made sworn statements detailing how they were lured into having sex with five teachers.

Nine more victims of the Makhumbuza High School sex scandal in Umlazi have made sworn statements detailing how they were lured into having sex with five teachers.

This brings to 13 the number of pupils who want to press criminal charges against the suspects.

One of the five teachers fingered in the sex orgy was charged with rape and appeared in the Umlazi magistrate's court. The teacher, aged 46, was remanded in police custody until June 17.

The allegations first surfaced on April 24 when a group of pupils made the accusations to Umlazi District education officials.

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu appointed an independent prosecution team to probe charges of misconduct against the five suspects.

The team is acting on the findings of a preliminary investigation.

Sowetan learnt yesterday that the nine pupils went to police after having attended counselling sessions offered at the school. More girls are expected to come forward as the sessions continue.

Police spokesperson Buhle Ngidi confirmed yesterday that nine pupils had made statements at the Umlazi police station on Thursday last week.

Initially, a pupil reported the scandal to the education district director, and soon afterwards, more girls came forward.

"Police had previously obtained five statements from victims, one of whom police have conclusive evidence that she was raped by one of the accused teachers," said Ngidi.

As the probe continues, reports of high levels of intimidation and death threats against the pupils and education officials continue to escalate.

Eighteen of the 20 victims are in the process of being moved to other schools.

Education Umlazi district director Mlu Ntombela said he had also been threatened.

"But we put the victims first," he said.

One victim, who cannot be named, was assaulted a week ago.

Ntombela said the external probe by the department sat for the first time yesterday.

The provincial secretary of the Congress of the South African Students, Bhekisisa Shabane, applauded the victims for their courage and for pressing criminal charges.

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