Action against sex-pest teachers being held up
Johannesburg - The outbreak of Covid-19 in the country has prevented education authorities from concluding disciplinary actions against teachers charged with sexual offences against children.
This was the shocking revelation which prompted parliamentary bodies responsible for education to urge the South African Council of Educators (Sace) to act swiftly to deal with any acts of criminality at school.
The parliamentary bodies have made a call that teachers accused of acts of sexual violation of children, or charged with other criminal activities, should not be allowed to apply for similar jobs in other provinces while facing pending charges.
This was the urgent call of Parliament’s portfolio committee on basic education and the select committee on education and technology, sport, arts and culture to Sace, the regulatory body of teachers in the country.
Chairperson of the basic education committee Bongiwe Mbingo-Gigaba urged Sace to act promptly after chief executive Ella Mokgalane revealed to the committee that the outbreak of Covid-19 had affected all disciplinary measures against rogue teachers.
She said that this would result in a very slow turnaround time, rolling over many cases to the next financial year, and delay the application of justice on the part of children.
In October last year, a report on cases of misconduct by teachers was tabled before Parliament. It revealed that KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of sexual offences against pupils, alongside Gauteng.
According to the report, 128 cases of overall misconduct were reported in KZN, 21 of them sexual. Thirty-six were related to verbal abuse, harassment and defamation.
Sace revealed it was investigating 633 misconduct cases, 93 of which were for sexual assault and rape.
The report stated that non-sexual offences such as absenteeism and corporal punishment dominated the offences. Sixty-two cases related to fraud and theft, and 11 to racism.
In the Western Cape, 269 cases were investigated, 173 of which related to corporal punishment and assault, and 15 sexual misconduct.
Gauteng had 152 cases, 28 of which were for verbal abuse and harassment, 21 for sexual misconduct.
In the Eastern Cape, 47 matters were probed, 15 of which were for corporal punishment and assault, 11 for sexual misconduct.
Limpopo had 29 cases, 10 of which related to corporal punishment and assault, nine sexual misconduct.
In the North West there were 30 cases, 13 of which related to verbal abuse, victimisation and harassment, four sexual abuse.
Mpumalanga had 37 cases, 14 of which were for corporal punishment, two for sexual misconduct.
In the Free State, there were 56 cases, 16 of which were for verbal abuse and harassment. Eight cases of sexual violence were recorded.
This week, the committees, after hearing that educators found guilty of violating ethical standards move from province to province, asked Sace about measures to ensure that the perpetrators are easily identified. They also asked Sace about measures prohibiting re-admission of these educators into the sector.
Mbingo-Gigaba said: “Members of the committees and Sace officials agreed on the need to urgently include in legislation, such as the Children’s Act, measures to enforce sanctions so as to prohibit transgressors from re-entering the system.”
Mbinqo-Gigaba said their call followed Sace’s revelation that in many instances it was difficult to impose sanctions because some parents did not allow their children to be witnesses.
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