Both the teacher and the pupil are from the same West Rand school, which can’t be named to protect the identity of the girl.
In the picture, the teacher is wearing pyjamas while the pupil is wearing a T-shirt.
The two pose for a selfie in front of a full-length mirror, with the teacher hugging the girl from behind.
Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed they were aware of the pictures and that the teacher had been removed from the school.
He said the department was monitoring the situation and the matter had been referred to the department’s dispute management team for investigation.
Mabona reiterated that romantic and sexual relationships between teachers and pupils contravened the Educators’ Employment Act. If found guilty, a teacher can be dismissed.
“School managers have a legal and ethical duty to report such cases to the authorities. The department has a zero-tolerance stance on allegations of sexual assault, and strongly condemns any acts of sexual misconduct in schools. It is inappropriate for educators to partake in sexual relations with pupils,” Mabona said.
He said while the department was monitoring the situation, they were appealing to all teachers to refrain from all types of misconduct and instead focus on learning and teaching.
The SA Council of Educators (SACE) has on numerous occasions called for the naming and shaming of teachers accused of sexual misconduct.
In looking at sanctions the teachers received, SACE found that most were disproportionate to what they had been accused of.
According to the report, SACE received 2233 cases of misconduct between 2008 and 2012. Of these cases there was an outcome for 1002 incidents of which 49 were related to teachers’ sexual misconduct and having sexual relationships with pupils, while 209 cases dealt with corporal punishment.
Ten of the 49 teachers accused of sexual misconduct were found not guilty and four cases were referred to the police or the national department to resolve.
Four were not charged, three resigned, two received advisory letters, one died and one case was resolved amicably.
Of those found guilty, six were dismissed; 13 remained in their jobs, either on suspension together with a final written warning or without a final written warning. Some were just given a final written warning, together with a fine.
SACE spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said the council still wants to have the power to name and shame the teachers who sexually abuse pupils. “The process we are engaged in now is that of amending the act, so that it empowers us to name such individuals,” Ndhlovu pointed out.
The council was also in constant engagement with the provincial education departments to improve their response to matters of sexual misconduct and abuse in schools, he said.