Some Vosloorus residents stand outside Thuto Lesedi Secondary School where Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi addressed pupils following allegations that a 16-year-old girl was raped by two matriculants. Picture: Khaya Koko

Johannesburg - Tempers flared when Panyaza Lesufi visited the Ekurhuleni school where a Grade 9 girl was allegedly brutally assaulted and raped in the toilets.

Outside the school, scores of community members gathered to protest against the secrecy surrounding the rape and assault allegations. 

The Gauteng Department of Education MEC, who visited Thuto Lesedi Secondary in Vosloorus, went there with the hope to quell matters.

While there, he also acknowledged that the school was "infested with drugs" and violence.

This follows harrowing allegations that the 16-year-old girl was forcefully dragged to the boys' toilets by two Grade 12 learners, where she was allegedly beaten up and sexually assaulted on July 25. 

Lesufi also spoke to irate learners who  detailed a culture of drug abuse, violent bullying, teachers who bunk classes as well as grotesque lavatory facilities matters are alleged to have been behind most of the school's ills. 

Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed last week that police were investigating a criminal case, after which the docket would be submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority for a final determination. 

"As the case is being reviewed, the police were requested to further obtain a statement from another learner to verify the factual information provided to the police, as well as the medical report. 

"Once the statement has been obtained, the case will be taken back to court for a further decision," Dlamini had said at the time.

Lesufi confirmed on Monday that the Grade 12 learners, who teachers at the school have said are adults, had been suspended and were undergoing a disciplinary hearing. 

However, when he visited the school the following day on Tuesday, he said he was both angry and frustrated with what he called the failure of systems where it took over two weeks for the Department to be fully aware of the allegations and for disciplinary measures to be taken against the accused. 

Asked whether heads would roll for what the victim's family labelled a cover-up by the GDE, Lesufi said an investigation had been launched into the systems failure, and the GDE would be guided by the report thereof. 

"The basis of any report is to act and to act decisively," the MEC asserted. 

He added that, under the normal GDE processes, the 16-year-old would have had to receive counselling and offered educational assistance. 

"All of those things did not happen," Lesufi said. 


The Star