Johannesburg - Accused “sex pest” acting principal of John Martin Catholic School in Kagiso has been placed on precautionary special leave amid the revelation that the educator had a valid teaching certificate when he was appointed.
There was an outcry last week over the appointment of Motsamai Molete, a former educator from Phahama Secondary School in Mohlakeng, who was dismissed by the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) for misconduct, after he had sexually assaulted a learner and for improper and disgraceful conduct of a sexual nature towards learners in 2014.
The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) also upheld his dismissal in 2015. Following a social media post that went viral, the Catholic Institute of Education resolved to put the educator on precautionary special leave while resolving the matter, the GDE confirmed.
“We are monitoring this matter with interest,” GDE spokesperson Steve Mabona told The Star.
The episcopal vicar for schools of the Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg,
Solly Mphela, said on Saturday that the archdiocese emphasised that the protection of children in church schools was paramount and, through a child safeguarding policy, set standard employment procedures for Catholic schools.
Mphela said that after the GDE and ELRC dismissed Molete, neither body reported the matter to the South African Council of Educators (SACE) nor was he charged criminally.
“In fact, he has a valid SACE teaching certificate,” he said.
Mabona confirmed that a criminal case was not reported by the department after Molete was convicted and dismissed.
The Archdiocese of Johannesburg said that the people who employed Molete at John Martin Catholic School had died and clarity could not be obtained as to what procedure was followed in the acting principal’s employment.
“The board was in the process, in late 2020, of initiating disciplinary procedures regarding his failure to disclose the findings against him at the time of his employment. Unfortunately, recently two board members passed away from Covid-19 and another resigned,” Mphela said.
He added that a process for the appointment of a new board was now under way and when a board was in place, due process about Molete’s employment would be implemented.
“The Catholic Church has a comprehensive child safeguarding policy in place and abhors the abuse of any child,” Mphela said.
Meanwhile, the DA in Gauteng is calling for the establishment of a National Register for Sex Offenders for teachers to protect learners against “sex pests”.
“In most cases, some private schools do not have any mechanisms in place to check the employment history of their candidates, resulting in the lives of learners being put at risk,” said DA spokesperson for education Khume Ramulifho.
He added that the National Register for Sex Offenders for teachers should be made public for both public and private schools to have access, including the parents, to protect their children against sex predators.
“This register will ensure that teachers who have been dismissed for sexually-related cases are blacklisted. The safety of learners should be a priority,” Ramulifho said.