The Gauteng Department of Education is offering counselling to learners sexually assaulted by an alleged scholar patroller. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA
Johannesburg - The number of cases against a male scholar patroller accused of assaulting 83 pupils at a school in Soweto has increased to 44, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) confirmed on Friday.

Earlier this week, the community of Orlando East was left shocked after reports emerged that 54 schoolgirls had allegedly been sexually violated by the staff member.

The number then rose from 54 to 83 later on in the week after more pupils reported that they too had been sexually assaulted.

The Department of Education dismissed the man, who was also arrested and charged with three counts of rape and one of indecent assault.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi also removed school’s principal and her management team with immediate effect.

The 57-year-old man has since appeared in the Protea Magistrate's Court, where the matter was postponed to next week.

Affected pupils have also been receiving counselling.

A planned visit by Lesufi to the school to monitor the progress of counselling was called off at the last minute so as to give the counsellors space.

"There's still a lot of work that still needs to be done, so we decided to give them some space," spokesperson Steve Mabona said.

He, however, confirmed that Lesufi's meeting with the parents would still take place on Sunday.

"The MEC will then provide more details on what transpired during the entire week," Mabona said.