two More laid off for sexual abuse

Two more staff members of the disgraced Filadelfia Secondary School in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, have been suspended following allegations of sexually abusing disabled pupils.

Two more staff members of the disgraced Filadelfia Secondary School in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, have been suspended following allegations of sexually abusing disabled pupils.

This brings to 10 the number of staff members suspended since January from the school for the visually impaired, hearing impaired and physically challenged pupils.

Four teachers, three security guards and a cook have been accused of raping disabled pupils during school hours and in the evenings. Some were allegedly raped while the rest of the school attended morning assembly.

Deputy Minister of Public Works Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, a former pupil at the school, went public this year alleging that she had been raped by a teacher 20 years ago. She fell pregnant as a result and was later expelled while she was in Grade 8.

About a month ago, a gardener and a deaf general assistant were also implicated in sexually abusing disabled pupils at the school and were suspended last Wednesday.

The suspensions were confirmed yesterday by Gauteng department of education spokesperson Charles Phahlane.

"This is as a result of the ongoing investigations into the case of sexual misconduct against the other eight employees at the school," Phahlane said. "The disciplinary hearings against the eight employees have started and will continue throughout this month."

He said the GDE was determined to address cases of misconduct, "especially against vulnerable learners".

He said pupils at the school had been counselled on ways to report instances of abuse. Staff members were also briefed on how to handle cases of abuse.

Sources at the GDE said three former teachers at the school had been linked to sexual abuse cases. The three, whose names are known to Sowetan, have denied the allegations even after we provided them with the names of their alleged victims.

All three currently hold senior positions at schools in Pretoria, Bronkhorstspruit in Mpumalanga, and Katlehong in Ekurhuleni.

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