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Saturday, December 5, 2020
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We must fight sexual violence at schools says parliament education committee

Bonile Khanyi

Parliament’s Select Committee on Education and Recreation has condemned the recent acts of sexual assault against learners at schools in Gauteng and Limpopo.

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is currently conducting three cases of sexual assault in the province.

In two of the most recent incidents in Gauteng, a 17-year-old girl from Mahube Valley Secondary School reported that she was allegedly raped by a school guard who works at her school.

And in Benoni, another learner was allegedly raped by an older boy over the weekend. The incident is alleged to have taken place at a Park in Benoni on Saturday, October 14.

Meanwhile, in Limpopo, a 51-year-old teacher was arrested on Saturday afternoon after he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl in a village near Tzaneen.

Speaking to Inside Education on Tuesday, Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the 14-year-old had been travelling home from school with the teacher last week Friday.

“He first stopped at a shop to buy something and later raped the victim inside of his car on their way home. He then dropped her off at home,” said Ngoepe.

Chairperson of the committee, Lungelwa Zwane said in a statement on Monday that the safety of the school environment must be restored.

“The safety of the school environment must be reasserted to ensure that parents feel free to send their children to school and that learners are able to learn because education is vital in fighting the triple scourges of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” said Zwane.

The committee reiterated its call for a societal re-commitment to fighting all forms of violence in schools.

It also urged the Department of Education to strengthen verification procedures with the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) to ensure that children are protected from known offenders.

“As a society, we have failed our children and have exposed them to risks from which they must be protected. As a society, we need to find solutions to these problems that besiege the education sector,” said Zwane.

 

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