School principal in Wynberg court for sexual assault of minors
Cape Town - Protesters are gearing up to turn up en masse at the Wynberg Magistrates court on Thursday, where an Islamic school principal will appear on charges of sexual assault against minors.
The Ottery-based Halāwat-ul-Qurān Haafith Academy principal, 45, from Surrey Estate, is expected to appear after his case was postponed on November 27, 2020.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said a case of sexual assault was registered at the Grassy Park police station on November 6, 2020, for an incident which occurred in May 2017.
Another case of sexual assault involving a different minor was registered and the cases will run concurrently. Both victims were minors at the time of the alleged assaults, one dating as far back as 2007.
Mother of one of the victims, a learner at the school, said her daughter was around 12-13 years old when the alleged incident took place in May 2019.
“In the incident that happened at the school, he asked her to greet him and when she went to kiss him on the cheek, he turned his face and kissed her on her mouth, put his arms around her and put his hands on her bum.”
The incident was reported to the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), who at the time was investigating the accused for another case of misconduct. The mother slammed the MJC for their inaction in the matter, allowing him to continue to teach and be in the presence of children. The accused had been teaching up until his arrest in November 2020.
Her daughter reported more incidents of sexual assault to her grandfather in August 2019.
The court appearance will be the sixth scheduled since 2019.
“The dragging of the case is extremely frustrating. Prolonging the matter also means that she has to relive the incidents over and over again. I can now see why victims withdraw cases and don't come forward. The process is not victim-friendly at all,” she said.
“I am aware of many girls that have been victims of this man, but they are afraid to speak out due to the stigma and victimisation that takes place in our community.”
Protest organiser Faatin Bux said: “This case is particularly harmful to us as South Africans because it is embedded in religion. The fact that ‘Men of the Book’ are becoming more and more brazen in their attempts at sexually assaulting young men and women while professing to do the work of God.”
“The MJC have known of this case. It has been brought to their attention...”
Meanwhile, MJC second-deputy president Shaykh Riad Fataar said the incident under their investigation involving the accused was that of consensual sexual relations.
He said that the MJC could not get involved in this matter as it is in court. The suspect also refused to meet with the religious body, which the MJC said was out of its control.