Panyaza Lesufi, MEC for Education in Gauteng Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi backs calls to name and shame teachers who prey on pupils. 

Speaking at the Independent Schools Responsibility Summit in Midrand yesterday, Lesufi said he supported the South African Council of Educators’ (SACE) plans to make public the names of those found guilty of sexually abusing pupils. 

Lesufi said this in the wake of a video that emerged on social media showing two KwaZulu-Natal teachers, who have since been suspended, raping a pupil and revelations that at least 30 pupils at a Northern Cape school were impregnated by teachers. 

From April to August this year, SACE received 21 complaints related to sexual misconduct by teachers. 

According to statistics from the Department of Basic Education, about 8 700 primary and high school pupils fell pregnant last year. 

SACE is seeking amendments to allow them to publish the teachers’ names and have them banned from working with children. 

He said: “I am of the view that in the beginning of 2018, we should have a database that is publicly available and accessible so that there is no teacher who will be employed by the private and the public sector in Gauteng who has not been vetoed.”

He said that in order to protect pupils, it was important to ensure that abusive teachers were not allowed to stay in the education system. 

“We are identifying people daily who we should have stopped from entering the education system. 

“The teacher who molested almost nine pupils should not have gone through our system. 

“We will distribute any case of a teacher we dismiss and send them to SACE. You can’t allow these kind of teachers to be part of the learning space. 

“We must name and shame these educators and cannot allow this kind of behaviour to go unchallenged,” he said. 

The summit with independent schools has been in the works for two years since the segregation saga at Curro Roodeplaat. 

The agenda was first supposed to look into racism in the independent schools, but Wednesday’s summit looked into a wide variety of problems in the sector. Up to 28% of all schools in Gauteng are independent. 

Confidence Dikgole, deputy chairperson of the National Alliance of Independent Schools, admitted there was still a long way to go in solving issues in the sector. 

Dikgole said: “We have elements of racial stereotypes, misogyny and unfair discrimination in our schools and we have to acknowledge these elements. 

“We cannot be seen as condoning these acts as a sector.”

Lesufi said one of the issues that needed to be dealt with was the recruitment of teachers from the public sector by independent schools. 

“Sometimes it pains me that we train and then a good teacher working in the poorest areas gets recruited by the private education system. 

“We don’t want to be a training ground for rich people. You develop a good teacher and you take them for training, and once they get better, the private sector takes that teacher out of the public education sector,” Lesufi said.

The Star