President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned teachers having sexual relations with pupils. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday rebuked sexual assault of pupils by teachers and called on law enforcement authorities to investigate and arrest the perpetrators.

Ramaphosa addressed South Africa's largest teachers' union, the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) at its congress in Johannesburg.

He said the rape of pupils by teachers was of grave concern.

"There are too many reports of sexual relations between educators and learners...and you know this. This abhorrent behaviour must be decidedly addressed and be stopped. As educators, your job is that of a parent to the children who come to your schools, you are not supposed to be lovers of children at schools. We may want to deny this this as it often happens, but we all know that it is happening. We say Sadtu should stand firm and pledge to not allow teachers to have sexual relations with learners," Ramaphosa said to an applause by delegates.

"As a teacher, you are a parent to any child...you do not have sexual relations with your child. It is not allowed, and because you are parents, we expect that you will be way above these types of behaviour. At the same time, the law must be allowed to take its course...as with all cases of sexual assault, these crimes must be fully prosecuted and perpetrators subjected to the full extent of the law."

Sadtu is holding its ninth national congress at Nasrec in Johannesburg until Saturday. The congress will hold discussions on education, policies and labour and come up with resolutions and also elect new leaders.

African News Agency/ANA