"I am grateful that the department has prioritised this matter and we will leave no stone unturned,” said MEC Panyaza Lesufi in a statement. Picture: Lindi Masinga/ANA

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) confirmed on Thursday that the principal and the entire senior management of a Soweto school had been removed from the school with immediate effect, following sexual assault allegations of 83 learners by a scholar patroller. 

"We remain grateful to all stakeholders especially the Teddy Bear Clinic and our Psycho Social Support Services. I am grateful that the department has prioritised this matter and we will leave no stone unturned,” said MEC Panyaza Lesufi in a statement.

"This is necessitated by the seriousness of the allegations of sexual assault of about 54 learners, by a scholar patroller at the school, who was subsequently arrested on Monday, 09 October 2017," the department said in an earlier statement.

Read more: Sex predator at Soweto school allegedly molested 54 Grade Rs

The number rose from 54 pupils to 83 after more pupils reported that they were sexually assaulted.

"The patroller has since appeared at the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 and is remanded in police custody to appear on Wednesday, 18 October 2017."

Also read: Soweto school security guard charged with 3 counts of rape

The GDE said they would be engaging with the School Governing Body (SGB) to establish the reasons why they should not be dissolved.

"An independent body has been appointed to investigate all allegations levelled against the principal and her management."

The department said that they were satisfied with the counselling process which was conducted by a Multi-Discipline Team, made up of GDE officials, Departments of Social Development, Health and the Teddy Bear Clinic.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation."