Lesufi tells 5 school workers to stay home as 6-year-old's rape investigated
Threats to burn school property
Five workers at a primary school in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, have been ordered not to report for duty amid allegations that a six-year old grade one pupil was raped at the school.
Gauteng MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi issued the order when he visited Khensani Primary School on Thursday. Initial reports indicated that the incident occurred last week Monday during school hours when the girl asked to use the bathroom.
“There are allegations that are directed at certain individuals and we have taken a decision that those individuals, four general assistants and one volunteer, not to report for duty until expert reports prove them otherwise,” Lesufi said.
“This does not mean they are suspended but it is for their own safety as there were people who wanted to burn the school property.”
Lesufi said when he learnt about the incident he was shocked and taken aback.
“The allegations were serious and I immediately notified the police and social workers. On Wednesday I received a preliminary report. However, I found many things in that report not clear but creating more confusion. I felt I should personally come here to satisfy myself with the developments,” he said.
He said there were things that were still not clear.
“I am told the alleged incident happened on a Monday. The learner came back to school on Tuesday and the report only came back on Wednesday. I have requested the police to move with speed and they have indicated that they in a position where they want to conduct an identity parade.
“We have learnt from history and people will know we had a case in Soweto where a security guard was alleged to have sexually harassed close to 25 learners,” Lesufi said.
“We lost that case because of the shoddy investigation and shoddy reporting. The court could not agree with us and up until today I still feel that we failed those children and I don’t want to add this child on that list; that is why we want to be extra careful. We follow procedures to the letter and satisfy ourselves on the basis of expert reports that we can act,” he said.
Lesufi said the family were not satisfied with how the school handled the matter.
“I apologised on behalf of the department for the miscommunication and they said they were still undecided as to whether they still want the child at school and were still consulting as the family. We are now working on gathering the evidence so as to identify the alleged culprit,” he said.
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