Former Mount View Secondary School teacher found guilty of misconduct, for having a sexual relationship with a former pupil, impregnating the girl, and later facilitating an abortion
Former Mount View Secondary School teacher found guilty of misconduct, for having a sexual relationship with a former pupil, impregnating the girl, and later facilitating an abortion

Teacher who impregnated high school pupil fired

By Lisa Isaacs Time of article published Aug 6, 2021

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Cape Town - The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) has dismissed, with immediate effect a former Mount View Secondary School teacher found guilty of misconduct, for having a sexual relationship with a former pupil, impregnating the girl, and later facilitating an abortion.

The Hanover Park teacher, identified as H Jabaar in the ELRC arbitration award, did not attend proceedings.

The former pupil was subpoenaed but it became apparent that she would not attend the hearing and was not willing or able to testify but, in light of the history and circumstances of the matter, arbitrator Arthi Singh-Bhoopchand was requested to proceed with the inquiry.

The teacher, currently employed as a teacher at another school, was accused of having a relationship with the pupil in 2019, when she was a minor.

A copy of the arbitration award will be sent to the South African Council for Educators (SACE) for the revoking of Jabaar’s teaching certificate.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) assistant director for employee relations Lauren Randall testified that her department first became aware of the allegations when they received a formal letter from school’s principal, stating that the pupil had approached him on November 14, 2019, and told him that the teacher had impregnated her.

The pupil also said that the teacher, married at the time, facilitated an abortion when she was five months pregnant. Later that day, the pupil’s parents came to see the principal and confirmed her version of events.

The department immediately initiated an investigation but, shortly thereafter, received a letter from the district office, withdrawing the complaint.

The WCED then closed the investigation, however, in 2020, they received a call from the pupil’s father enquiring about the progress of the probe.

After being informed that the complaint was withdrawn, the father confirmed that the complaint had been withdrawn because the teacher had agreed to marry the pupil.

The father said that the teacher had not upheld the agreement.

The department reopened the probe, but the parents once again indicated that they wanted to withdraw the complaint.

This time the department sought the assistance of their legal adviser, who advised that the investigation proceed.

“Together with the WCED deputy director for advisory services Jason Fry, Randall met with the pupil. The pupil told them that the teacher was a friend of her brother and that they often socialised together. That is how the relationship with the teacher began, resulting in her falling pregnant. The pupil went on to say that the teacher initially told her that he would marry her, but he subsequently changed his mind and insisted that she have an abortion, which she did,” the arbitration award reads.

It later emerged that the teacher did not want to lose his job and, on that basis, the teacher agreed to pay the pupil’s family a sum of money for the withdrawal of the complaint.

Fry also testified that, during consultation, the pupil appeared reluctant to speak in front of her father but, once he had left the room, she confirmed the allegations.

She handed over WhatsApp messages between the two, as well as pictures of them together.

Fry further testified that, when asking the father why he wanted the matter to be withdrawn, the parent said he was trying to get the teacher to marry his daughter and that it was about “family honour”.

Fry also consulted the teacher who admitted his actions. He said he had reneged on his agreement to marry the pupil because he was already married and his wife was pregnant.

“In the absence of the teacher, I am faced with only one version. It is trite that when a decision-maker proceeds with a matter in the absence of one party, he or she is nevertheless required to evaluate the evidence and arrive at a rational decision. A further challenge is that the complainant did not testify, thus rendering the only evidence before me as hearsay evidence. This does not necessarily mean that the evidence is inadmissible,” Singh-Bhoopchand found.

The department provided an adequate explanation for the complainant not being present, Singh-Bhoopchand found, and the teacher failed to attend the hearing and, thus, waived his right to be heard or to challenge the testimony against him.

“I have no reason not to accept the evidence of the two witnesses. Their version is further supported by documentary evidence. The individuals, in compromising circumstances in the photographs, were identified as being the pupil and the teacher. The content of the WhatsApp communications between the pupil and the employee confirm that the pupil was indeed pregnant, and the conversation around marriage between the two further cements the version of the witnesses.

“The content of the WhatsApp messages also supports the version that the teacher was trying to protect his job by manipulating the pupil and her family into withdrawing the complaint,” said Singh-Bhoopchand.

SACE said they would be able to confirm today whether they had received the award yet.

Cape Times

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