CAPE TOWN – Teacher unions have welcomed new regulations that will bar teachers found guilty of sexual misconduct to rejoin the profession.
This was after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga went after teachers found guilty of sexual offences and said they will be shown the door.
This follows new regulations that were published in the government gazette by Motshekga.
In the gazette Motshekga listed a number of offences that will result in teachers being fired after being found guilty and they include murder, sexual misconduct, having a sexual relationship with learner and sexual harassment.
But teachers who are found guilty of theft, bribery and corruption will be banned for five years and can re-apply for their jobs afterwards.
Sadtu and the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) welcomed the new regulations yesterday.
They said they will deal with some of the serious offences on sanctions to be imposed on those found guilty.
Sadtu spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said the new regulations were providing uniformity in the public service in line with the public service code.
She said there were no clear guidelines regarding the re-employment of teachers while there were clear guidelines against other employees in the public sector.
“The guidelines will go a long way towards protecting the dignity of the profession. Sadtu has always called for the harshest sentence in cases of sexual assault, we therefore welcome the sanction.
“They provide the basis from which to work. We hope they will deter educators from engaging in acts that may put their careers in jeopardy,” said Cembi.
Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said the regulations will kick in after a person has been found guilty.
He said they fully support the regulations. They will ensure that those found guilty of sexual assault cases do not come back to the teaching profession.
“What this does is that it stops a person found guilty in KwaZulu-Natal and starts a job in Limpopo the next day. It now says you can’t because this is a serious offence. If it’s a sexual offence you can never come back,” Manuel said.
In the annual report of the South African Council for Educators (Sace) for the 2019/20 financial year it was found that the number of sexual misconduct cases against teachers increased to 92.
These 92 cases related to rape, indecent assault, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
But in total the Sace was investigating 456 misconduct charges against teachers across the country and some of the cases included theft, corruption, corporal punishment and assault.
Sace had noted that out of all the cases reported during that year, cases of sexual misconduct against teachers had raised alarm in communities.