The 55-year-old teacher, accused of sexually abusing more than 20 learners at Valhalla Primary School in Pretoria, appeared in court. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

Pretoria - The 55-year-old teacher, accused of sexually abusing more than 20 learners at Valhalla Primary School in Centurion, Pretoria, appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

The case was postponed to April 11.

He has been accused of inappropriately touching 23 children -- in Grades 5, 6 and 7 -- since June last year. The pupils reported him following an awareness campaign by the Tshwane Metro Police Department.

Last month, police informed the court that the number of victims had increased to 24 and investigations were ongoing.

Investigating officer Captain Johannes Mkhondo had objected to the bail application citing that the victims would not be safe because his alleged behaviour was continuous.

The court heard that the teacher continued sexually assaulting pupils even after the school principal reprimanded him. 

Mkhondo said the man would be a danger to the community should he be granted bail. 

The defence told the court that Mkhondo had allegedly attempted to get the accused's wife to pay a R10 000 bribe for the case to be squashed.

Mkhondo denied this and offered to give up both his cell phones to check if he sent the SMS. 

On February 14, the teacher convinced the court to release him on R8 000 bail. Conditions of his bail include that he will not abscond or intimidate victims or witnesses. He was also ordered to hand in his passport.

The Gauteng provincial department of education has placed the beleaguered teacher on precautionary suspension with pay. 

On Thursday, activists including #NotInMyName were at court calling for a harsh sentence against the teacher.

"We continue to stand with the families, the pupils that have been affected and we call for justice to be served without fear or favour," said #NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango.

African News Agency (ANA)