Johannesburg - Sex pest teachers will no longer have a chance to make it back to the classroom after being fired for sexually assaulting pupils.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has published regulations intended to prevent the re-employment of teachers dismissed for misconduct.
The regulations detailed the periods teachers guilty of certain types of misconduct could not be re-employed.
But it was clear that those guilty of sexual offences were indefinitely banned from re-employment.
The sexual offences included sexual assault on a pupil, student or other employee, and having a sexual relationship with a pupil of the school.
Teachers also banned for life were those guilty of grave corporal punishment, assaulting fellow employees to the extent of causing grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, rape and indecent assault.
Motshekga stipulated some periods after which teachers guilty of certain types of misconduct could be cleared for re-employment. A teacher guilty of sexual harassment involving another employee can be re-employed after four years, as can one axed for unfairly discriminating against others on grounds including race, pregnancy, sexual orientation and HIV status.
Principals or teachers guilty of wilfully or negligently mismanaging school finances can be employable after three years.
One fired for being absent from work without a valid reason or permission can come back after a year, as should those shown the door for participating in unprotected or unlawful strikes.
According to the regulations, background checks needed to be done on candidates seeking employment.
“Before any person can be appointed or re-appointed to work with children, the prospective employer or delegated official shall ensure that the prospective employee … is vetted against the National Child Protection Register and has a clearance certificate from the registrar referred to in the Criminal Law Amendment Act.”
Reports of teachers being fired for sexually abusing pupils were quite common in the country.
Just last week, The Star reported that a Soweto pupil said a principal and a teacher gang-raped her at school. The teacher was fired for rape and the principal faced internal charges.
The Star also reported last month that a Germiston male teacher and sports coach was fired for sexually grooming a 14-year-old pupil until he formed a sexual relationship with him.
The SA Council of Educators recorded an increase in the number of sexual abuse cases during the 2019/20 financial year.
It dealt with 92 cases related to sexual misconduct, rape, indecent assault, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
It appeared it was possible for sex pest teachers to find their way back into the classroom.
Richard Themba Ndlovu, a maths teacher in KwaZulu-Natal, was fired again after he fraudulently returned to work some months after he was found guilty of sexual misconduct involving a pupil.
The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) ruled last year that the department acted procedurally when it dismissed him for the second time after discovering he was back in service.
Matekanye Matakanye, chief executive of the National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB), said yesterday the department was correct to ban sex pest teachers indefinitely.
“They must be banned for life. These people know that they are not supposed to sleep with children, but they assault them. There must be consequences,” Matakanye said.