Teachers, accused of having a romantic affair with the same pupil, threaten to sue
Durban - Teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct with a pupil at uMlazi’s Comprehensive Technical High School have threatened to sue the Department of Education following their suspensions last week.
The teachers, who have denied having relationships with the pupil, were issued with notices of suspension last Friday.
The department released a statement on Sunday stating that two male teachers had been suspended for an improper relationship with a pupil.
It said other teachers had caught a teacher and the pupil kissing, and the pupil also admitted to a relationship with another teacher at the same school.
However, this week the two suspended teachers, as well as the two teachers who were allegedly witnesses, told The Mercury through their lawyer Advocate Bonokwakhe Dlamini that the allegations were not true.
The Mercury has seen three affidavits from the two teachers who were allegedly witnesses who have denied that they ever said they spotted the two kissing, and one from the pupil denying the relationship with the two teachers.
Dlamini said he been briefed by Bidi and Nsele attorneys, who had been appointed by the uMlazi Comtech Sadtu Site committee members in the matter. Dlamini said he had written to the department head, Dr Enock Nzama, highlighting irregularities in the suspensions.
“These teachers were suspended without a shred of evidence. They were not even interviewed to get their side of the story, and even the so-called witnesses were not interviewed.
“We are going to sue the department. The first thing we are going to demand is that it apologises for the embarrassment and the humiliation it has heaped on the teachers with these allegations and the suspensions,” he said.
On the day in question, he said, the teacher accused of kissing the pupil was not at school and the second teacher implicated by the confession was in a meeting with one of the staff members who wrote the complaint.
“The suspension letters do not spell out the allegations. It just says they are suspended for three months and should not come to school.
“The allegations are a smokescreen for school politics and fights over school resources.
“The one teacher is a target because he is a vocal member of Sadtu, and the other is collateral damage,” he said.
The affidavits compiled by the two teachers stated that on the day of the alleged incident, they saw the pupil come out of the male toilets for the teachers.
The pupil was questioned about why she had been in the male toilets, but she did not give the teachers a satisfactory answer.
The teachers said while they were still questioning the girl, the school guidance counsellor asked what the problem was and they all went to the deputy principal’s office.
When the father of the pupil came to school to fetch her, as she is a boarder, the deputy principal then allegedly told him that the child was suspected of being in an improper relationship with a teacher, they said.
They also said they did not see the teacher accused of kissing the pupil close to the library that day.
Department of Education spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the teachers were within their rights to get legal representation.
“We did say they are suspended pending the disciplinary hearing, and the disciplinary hearing will afford them the chance to state their case, if they have something to say.”
Sadtu representative in the area, Sihle Mchunu, said the appointment of the lawyer was a private appointment.
“In such cases, we have to be extra careful and we are aware that some stories are changing.”