Johannesburg - More and more incidents of alleged sexual assault against pupils at Gauteng schools appear to be emerging, with Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi confirming two new cases on Wednesday.
Lesufi revealed this at the Protea Magistrate’s court, after the appearance of a scholar patroller accused of molesting 87 schoolgirls at a school in Soweto.
The 57-year-old man was arrested after reports emerged that 54 schoolgirls had allegedly been sexually assaulted.
The number then rose from 54 to 87 later on in the week after more pupils reported that they too had been alleged victims.
The Department of Education then dismissed the man while Lesufi removed school’s principal and her management team with immediate effect.
Pupils also received counselling sessions organised by the department.
Speaking following court proceedings, Lesufi confirmed he had received reports of two new cases of sexual assault against pupils.
“I received [news of the] two cases on Tuesday, one involving another patroller who allegedly sexually assaulted a pupil in Hammanskraal.
“Fortunately there was a case there, so the parents are assisting us there. There was another case of a choir master who’s also been accused of the same incident.”
The patroller in the first case has since been dismissed, Lesufi confirmed.
He also added due to an increase in the number of new cases being reported, a task team of sorts might be set up to help the department deal with the cases.
Earlier on, the accused made his appearance in court, keeping his head down as the brief proceedings got underway.
The court was told that thus far, the State had engaged with 15 children, aged between 5-12 years.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana said that from the 15, eight charges were derived, three of rape and five of sexual assault.
“That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for the remaining pupils. The prosecutor instructed SAPS (South African Police Service) to probe further.
“So it is going to be a long process… obviously this is a sensitive matter. We are moving at a slow process and we urge the public to be patient with us.”
Also present at court were protesters from the child and youth care workers, who said they were there to support the victims families.
The care workers were joined by the Gauteng Patrollers Forum.
The matter was postponed the matter to next week for further investigation and to allow for an identity parade to be carried out.