Johannesburg - Police are still gathering facts to determine if they should arrest and charge one of their own accused of sexually molesting two pupils at a Soweto primary school.
"We’re still in the early stages of the investigation. There’s no arrest as yet,” spokesperson for Gauteng South African Police Service (SAPS) Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told The Star on Wednesday night.
The officer, a forensic investigator attached to the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, allegedly sexually molested two grade three pupils, aged seven and eight, at the same school in which 87 pupils suffered similar abuse last year.
He is said to have ordered them to undress and then molested them. This allegedly happened Monday this week while he was at the school to prepare for a case against the security guard accused of abusing 87 pupils.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced on Tuesday that his office helped parents of the pair to open a criminal case against a police forensic investigator.
Lesufi said the two girls allegedly abused by the policeman also suffered at the hands of the guard now awaiting trial.
Peters said police were following due procedure before deciding their next step.
“This is a very sensitive case.
“We just want to make sure that whatever processes that we undertake are within the confines of the law so that nothing comes back to bite us,” she said.
The officer has been questioned, said Peters. “Like with any other case, as soon as a case is reported the first thing to do is to get statements from the victims as well as the accused.
“The member has given the statement,” she told The Star.
Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng’s police commissioner, said she was disturbed by the allegations against the policeman.
"These allegations are quite serious, so we therefore wish to assure all parties concerned that the matter is receiving the necessary attention as a matter of priority,” she said.
“This is also a very sensitive matter as it involves minors, and therefore needs to be handled with utmost caution.”
De Lange pleaded with parents, the community and media to afford police “necessary space” to conduct their investigation.
“When ready police will be able to give factual presentation at an appropriate time.”
Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona would not be drawn to comment on the fact that the officer was not yet arrested.
He said police have assured the department that the officer was no longer part of the team preparing for the guard’s case.
Mabona said the department dispatched councillors to the primary school on Wednesday. They will remain at the school for as long as necessary, he said.
“Our psycho-social service team was at the school to interact with the parents of the two affected and other parents,” Mabona told The Star.
“We’ve learnt that the forensic officer’s process entailed engaging with more learners. There’s already other learners that he interacted with.
“Our officials will interact with the parents just to make sure that if they need any support they will be supported,” Mabona added.