'Sex abuse' school faces probe

THE South African Council of Educators is expected to send investigators to the troubled Mahlontebe Secondary School outside Marble Hall in Limpopo to investigate reports about pupils who are allegedly having sex with their teachers.

The council's representatives visited the school last week after five teachers were dismissed from the school.

The council's national spokesman, Temba Ndlovhu, said yesterday: "We have conducted preliminary investigations with communities surrounding the school, the affected teachers, the learner representative council, the circuit office and the school governing body."

Ndlovhu said the team would be in the area from next Wednesday "for a week or two, speaking to everyone".

The investigations came after pupils accused certain teachers of sexually abusing them. This was after a Grade 11 pupil allegedly damaged her teacher's car after accusing him of cheating.

It was also alleged that some of the teachers had asked for sexual favours from pupils in exchange for a pass at the end of the year. The teachers were chased away from the school a fortnight ago and are now reporting at the local circuit office of the department.

But department spokesman Pat Kgomo said yesterday that their preliminary investigations had revealed that the sexual harassment allegations levelled against teachers could not be proven as pupils who were allegedly abused could not come forward.

"We have also discovered that allegations that a teacher was not offering lessons in certain classes or grades were true. We are attending to the problem and we are giving it the urgency it deserves," said Kgomo.