Johannesburg - Gauteng Department of Basic Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has revealed that four teachers at Parktown Boys’ High School have resigned after being accused of misconduct, while another two will be transferred to the district office pending investigations.
The Saturday Star has seen the complaint that led to one of the four resignations, showing he allegedly pushed one of his pupils and called him a “black bastard”.
The department’s announcement comes as a group of more than 20 concerned parents are set to launch an urgent application at the High Court in Pretoria to force the department to take further action against other teachers at the school.
Parktown Boys’ High has been at the centre of a series of investigations following alleged sexual abuse of at least 30 pupils.
Following the arrest of the water polo coach accused of the molestation, a wave of allegations emerged against at least nine other teachers. These included accusations of secondary victimisation of pupils assaulted by the water polo coach, physical and sexual abuse, as well as discouraging pupils from coming forward. The department initially brought in law firm, Fasken Martineau, to perform an investigation into the nine teachers’ conduct, though the report could only find evidence against four of them.
However, yesterday, Lesufi said there were six teachers implicated, and four of them employed by the governing body had already resigned.
The remaining two teachers employed by the education department will be transferred to its district offices.
Lesufi said the teachers’ presence on campus could undermine the investigation if pupils felt wary of speaking out in fear of secondary victimisation.
However, he said the probe was scuppered by parents of the victims of secondary victimisation, who were unwilling to grant permission for investigators to speak to their children, as part of a new investigation.
He said another law firm was brought on board by his department, to confirm whether the Fasken investigation had been conducted correctly, and to look into a new dossier of evidence submitted to the department.
Meanwhile, Lesufi saidt another teacher accused of assaulting one of his pupils, was still undergoing a disciplinary process, but was unable to say when this would be completed.
The Saturday Star has seen the complaint against one of the teachers who has recently resigned, and has spoken to the parent of a complainant.
Design and technology teacher John Scott, allegedly threatened to beat two misbehaving pupils in his class.
After sending one of the pupils out of class, he said in front of the remainder of pupils, that the child should stop being “a black bastard”. The parent of one of the complainants said his son told him about how Scott had allegedly taken him into a storage room - away from the view of the newly installed CCTV cameras on campus - where he threatened and pushed his child.
A member of the governing body confirmed that when Scott was confronted with a charge sheet detailing the allegations, he immediately resigned.
However, Scott denied the incidents had occurred, labelling them an “absolute fabrication”.
He said he had resigned because he was already seven years past retirement age, and that the complaint had nothing to do with his decision to leave the school.
He declined to give further comment.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the parents launching the civil application against the school, said she had already compiled a massive dossier of evidence to submit to the court.
Frieda Scheepers said she and her colleagues had interviewed three pupils, and had gathered corroborating statements from at least 19 others.
“We have been forced to turn to the court, as the school and department have failed them. After communicating with both, we have received no undertakings from them to ensure the childrens’ rights,” said Scheepers.
However, when told about yesterday afternoon’s announcement of the transfer of the two remaining teachers, Scheepers said: “In light of what has happened in the last 48 hours, we have at last given these children a voice.
“At last the children and their parents are now being heard.”
The Saturday Star