Durban — Steps inching closer to the start of the trial of a teacher facing six counts of rape have been welcomed.
The 55-year-old high school teacher in Clermont who is alleged to have committed the offences at the school appeared on Tuesday in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.
This was his third appearance in the regional court. On the last occasion, statements were handed to his defence for the preparation of trial.
On Tuesday defence attorney K Jairam told the court that after consultation with his client, his intention was to make representation in the matter, but before that he would make an application for further particulars from the State.
“Representations are dependent on these further particulars,” said Jairam who explained that representations would be supplied to the State prosecutor on Wednesday.
The matter was then adjourned by Magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe to March.
The teacher, who had been working at the school since 2008, was arrested at the school in April and in May last year he was released on bail of R5 000 with conditions that he relocates to his chosen alternative address in northern KZN.
In the first count of rape, the teacher allegedly “inserted his genital organ into his 17-year-old victim’s genital organ” on March 16.
It was further alleged that he raped her more than once. In the second count, he is alleged on that same day to have inserted his finger in her genital organ.
In count 3 it is alleged that on January 19 the accused inserted his genital organ into another 17-year-old’s genital organ, when the State alleges that the victim was raped more than once.
And six days after this it is alleged that the accused inserted his finger into the genital organs of the same victim.
The accused is also charged with exposure of genital organs to a child, where it is alleged that in 2021 he allegedly pulled down his pants, showing his privates to the 17-year-old victim at the school.
In February, in count 6, he is alleged to have inserted his finger into the genital organ of another 17-year-old victim and raped her more than once.
He is alleged to have repeated this in March with the same victim.
The accused also faces a charge of sexual grooming of children. This was in relation to another 17- year-old victim.
Speaking outside court, Zonke Ngcobo of Ethembeni Crisis Care Centre under the Masiphephe Network in support of the victims and their families, said steps inching closer to the trial brought hope to the victims.
“This is taking into consideration the period that has lapsed since the victims laid charges. The continued adjournments since the charges were laid were starting to make the victims feel like justice was being delayed and that they had wasted their time laying the charges.
“This is what we were getting from one of the victims’ mothers, who had been continuously coming to court only to have the case adjourned. She said she was beginning to feel that her child would have been better off not laying a charge because of the emotional trauma she went through each time she saw this man in court, only to have the case adjourned.”
Ngcobo said when cases such as these moved into the trial phase, it made it easier for organisations such as theirs, working with gender-based violence victims, to encourage them to lay charges against their perpetrators.
“Most victims we have dealt with don’t report, fearing delayed justice as cases are often adjourned, so when justice seems to be served it brings hope to others”.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995