KwaZulu-Natal - The children who filed sex abuse complaints against a South Coast principal last month after a visit to their school by police officers were being used by their teachers and parents as part of a “smear campaign” to discredit the man and oust him from his post, the Scottburgh Magistrate’s Court heard on Thursday.

This “long conspiracy” stretched back to 2005.

This was the version the principal’s attorney, Sithembiso Mbhele, presented in court on Thursday. But the argument was not enough to convince magistrate Giel van Aarde to grant the man bail.

Opposing bail, prosecutor Kalpana Makhanjee said she believed the principal would interfere with witnesses.

Van Aarde told the court he did not want a situation where the public took the law into their own hands.

“It would be a sad a day when parents were too scared to send their children to school because they feared the teachers or principal would abuse them,” the magistrate said.

The principal had tears in his eyes and looked forlornly at the public gallery as he was escorted to the holding cells.

 

The 44-year-old man told the court he had been a victim of a smear campaign since his arrival at the school seven years ago.

 

Investigating officer Bhekizitha Nzama testified that he had not verified the man’s address as he feared for his life because his partner – the former investigating officer – was attacked and assaulted by the man’s supporters at his last appearance two weeks ago.

The man has yet to plead. - The Mercury