Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Sonja Boshoff and fellow party members have laid a criminal complaint against South African Council for Educators (Sace) board members for failing to vet teachers against the sex offenders register.
The party says one of Sace’s core functions was to vet teachers against the register before issuing licences, in terms of section 47 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act.
On Sunday, City Press reported that the council had no access to the register for 10 years.
“Sace has failed our children and, as Child Protection Week draws to a close, it is imperative that the teacher-vetting body’s leadership is held accountable,” Boshoff said.
Sace spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said the issue was slightly more complicated.
“For us to have access to the sex offenders register, we have to go through the director generals,” he said.
He said meetings over the matter had recently taken place, but concurred it was a “concern”.
Boshoff also took aim at Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga for not ensuring that Sace, which is an entity of the Department of Education, was not breaking the law.
“Minister Motshekga should now prove that her department is committed to ensuring children are safe at schools and support the call the DA has repeatedly made for this through our #SafeSchools campaign,” she said.
The DA also urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to end sexual and physical violence at schools through a collaborative effort with the South African Police Service, Basic Education, Social Development and Justice departments.
“Our children cannot achieve their full potential when schools are unsafe. The government needs to take swift action to make sure our children are safe at school,” Boshoff said. – News24