File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Strand teacher to appear over alleged rape of pupil, 14, at farewell party

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Dec 9, 2019

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Cape Town – A schoolteacher accused of raping one of his pupils is expected to apply for bail when he appears in the Strand Magistrate’s Court today. Thabo Makinana, 32.

Thabo Makinana, 32, a teacher at Kuyakhanya Primary School in Old Crossroads, allegedly raped a 14-year-old pupil during a Grade 9 class farewell party in Strand last month.

The scandal came to light after the family of another pupil - also reported to have been sexually abused at the same farewell, allegedly by the school’s administrator clerk - noticed she became withdrawn.

The two reportedly told the pupils that they were the reason they could attend the school and the pupils needed to repay them. The school services Grades 0-9.

Outraged parents and residents, supported by the South African National Civic Organisation, the ANC and the SACP, picketed outside the school last week, demanding that the teacher, administrator and principal be dismissed with immediate effect.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said a case of rape and sexual assault was opened in Gordon’s Bay.

“The case is being investigated by the Khayelitsha Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit. Two suspects, aged 32 and 27, were arrested and appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on November 25. 

"The case was postponed to December 6 for further investigation,” Van Wyk said.

However, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said he was only aware of one accused - Makinana.

“There was only one accused person who appeared in the Strand Magistrate’s Court charged with rape. He will return to court on Monday, December 9, for a possible bail application,” Ntabazalila said.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department was serving misconduct charge papers to both staff members.

“An investigation has been completed and charges formulated. We are in the process of serving them (with papers). 

"There are currently two processes at play at the moment, one being the labour process employer and employee, and the other being criminal charges with the SAPS. 

"We were informed that the administrative clerk and the teacher were currently in prison,” Hammond said. 

Community leader Patrick Mwanda said it seemed the WCED and police were dragging their feet in the cases. 

“Our proposal to the Department of Education was that they (staff) immediately get suspended while the investigation was pending. They are a risk to all pupils. 

“These are young children. We don’t know if maybe there are more victims, but they are scared to say anything,” Mwanda said. 

“We were not happy to see the clerk still in school. That was the second victimisation and trauma on his victim. 

“We also don’t understand why only one person appeared in court on Friday and will again appear alone. 

"We want all the teachers and staff to be vetted. We take it the principal was thinking of the school’s reputation, because if he didn’t, he would have immediately reported this. 

“WCED and the South African Council for Educators (Sace) must ensure they (accused) never work in a profession where they will have to engage with children or women. 

“We are also unhappy to hear from the media that Makinana was appearing, but we will mobilise to see Makinana doesn’t get bail,” Mwanda said. 

Sace spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said if teachers were found guilty of rape, or other offences of this nature, they would be struck off the roll of teachers indefinitely. 

Education Minister Angie Motshega had revealed in a written response to a parliamentary question that 93 cases across the country in 2018/19 of sexual misconduct, rape, indecent assault and sexual assault incidents involving teachers had been recorded.

Cape Times

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