Pupils want principal sacked

PUPILS at the Filadelfia Secondary School, where staff members allegedly sexually abused girls, are calling for the dismissal of the principal and his deputy.

PUPILS at the Filadelfia Secondary School, where staff members allegedly sexually abused girls, are calling for the dismissal of the principal and his deputy.

Filadelfia is a school for physically challenged and visually and hearing impaired pupils in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

The school was exposed in Sowetan a month ago after allegations that staff members, including teachers, sexually abused and impregnated pupils.

Eight alleged perpetrators - four teachers, three security guards and a cook - have been suspended by the Gauteng department of education.

Deputy Minister of Public Works Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said 20 years ago she was also abused and impregnated by a teacher, John Gumede, while she was a pupil at the school.

Gumede, who is also blind, is a senior official in the Department of Basic Education.

Grade 12 pupil John Milolo told Sowetan that the school management, in particular the principal, Willem van der Merwe, and his deputy, Isaac Shadung, had done nothing to assist pupils.

"We need someone with fresh ideas to take this institution forward," he charged.

Milolo said: "When we approached the principal about the alleged rape and sexual abuse of pupils by staff members last year he promised to investigate. But he did nothing to stop the practice or discipline the perpetrators.

"I appeal to all the victims, including those who were expelled and former pupils, to provide the GDE with information to enable it to investigate the matter thoroughly."

Shadung yesterday denied any knowledge of a call for their dismissal. Van der Merwe's cellphone was off.

Meanwhile, preparations for a disciplinary hearing against the four teachers by the South African Council for Educators are under way, communications manager Themba Ndlovu said.

X