Johannesburg - Thousands of school pupils from various schools in Mamelodi in the east of Pretoria on Friday participated in a march in support of a schoolgirl allegedly raped by her teacher, the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) said.
“We have around 10 000 students who have joined us to take their future into their own hands,” said Cosas president Collen Malatji.
The pupils, who were all dressed in school uniform, had handed a memorandum to police at the police station.
They were heading to another police station on the west side of the township where another memorandum would be handed over.
Earlier, Cosas secretary Khulekani Skosana said the girl from the Modiri Technical High School claimed to have been raped by her teacher earlier this week.
The same teacher was alleged to have harassed other girls at the school.
“After she opened a case, we decided to have the march,” said Skosana.
Police Captain Johannes Maheso confirmed that a case of sexual assault had been opened against the teacher.
“At the moment, no arrests have been made,” said Maheso.
Malatji indicated that if the police did not take action against the alleged rapist, they would “take matters into their own hands”.
The pupils were expected to march to the Modiri Technical High School to check whether the teacher implicated in the rape had been suspended.
Asked whether they had received permission for the march, Malatji said they did not need to get a go-ahead from the education department to stage the march.
“We don't need anyone's permission,” said Malatji.
“The situation of safety is a primary concern.”
The pupils would also head to the Wonderboom taxi rank.
Skosana said they were going to request taxi drivers to give a discounted taxi fare to school pupils.
“When you are wearing school uniform, taxi fare should be less by at least 50 cents or R1,” he said.
While the march was proceeding smoothly, Skosana said one pupil was injured after a scuffle broke out when “a group of gangsters” tried to infiltrate the march.
“The matter was attended to by the police,” said Skosana.
He said the pupil sustained a few bruises and cuts and was attended to by medical officials at the police station.