File picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The principal of a Soweto primary school, testified in the High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday, that the scholar patroller was suspended as soon as sexual assault allegations against him surfaced.

Maria Mthimkhulu told the court that she informed the school governing body about the allegations against scholar patroller, Johannas Molefe, on the same day that she received a list of names of learners who had allegedly been sexually assaulted. 

Molefe is facing three charges of rape and eleven of sexual assault.

Mthimkhulu said she had been principal of the school since 2017.

She testified that she didn't know when Molefe interacted with the children because they were mostly in class, although the few times she had seen him with the children he was friendly.

"I recieved a complaint on the 26 September 2017 from the grandmother of one of the learners who was in grade five.

"The grandmother said that her complaint was about mkhulu (the name Molefe was called at school) for saying bad things to her grandchild." 

Mthimkhulu said the grandmother informed her that her grandchild had told her that Molefe said that she had nice legs and wished to marry her.

"On September 22 the granny said her child was going to the toilet. Molefe asked the child why her skirt was dirty as if she was having sex. I told her it was too much for me and I called SMT (school management team) members so they could hear what she was saying." 

Mthimkhulu said she told the SMT teachers to tell the other teachers so they could get to the root of the matter.

"The other female teachers came to my office with a list of children who were sexually assaulted by Molefe." 

The list contained 54 names of learners who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Molefe.

"I said to the granny that I thought her grandchild was the only child but I now have more names. Later in the day one of the teachers said there was a child who had a bladder problem. I was appalled and I called the parent of the child... because I was now aware of assault accusations. I asked the mother if the child was not being abused sexually." 

Mthimkhulu said the parent had suspected that something was being done to her child. 

"On the 27th the mother of the child came to the school with the child's uncle and said the child disclosed that she had been fingered by Molefe. I said to her that I didn't understand because the day before she said the doctor has checked the child and there was no penetration. I then advised her to go to the police and she said she had already gone to the teddy bear clinic."

Mthimkhulu said she had notified the Department of Education about the scholar patroller's suspension and had also sent them a list of names of the alleged victims.

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African News Agency (ANA)