Principal and team removed from school for "concealing" sexual abuse of pupils

AFP  Getty Images                       Students participate in an art class

AFP Getty Images Students participate in an art class

The number of Soweto primary school pupils allegedly molested by a security guard has increased from 54 to a shocking 83, the Gauteng Department of Education confirmed yesterday. He said removing them from the school was to make sure that they do not have contact with the pupils while the investigation is ongoing.

The investigators discovered that numerous pupils who were molested were in Grade R, making the majority of the man's victims aged either five or six.

The parents of the affected children said that they were first notified of the abuse via WhatsApp messages sent by the school and some were only called in on Thursday morning to attend an "urgent meeting".

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Lesufi said the department of education has failed the children and should take full responsibility.

"This is necessitated by the seriousness of the allegations of sexual assault of about 54 learners".

The school official in question, employed as a guard, was arrested late on Monday evening, and appeared in front of a judge on Wednesday 11th October.

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"We immediately dispatched our Infrastructure Inspectors to both schools to assess the extent of the damages, which they estimate will cost about R4 million to fix".

An independent body has also been appointed to investigate all the allegations levelled against the principal and the school's management.

"We remain grateful to all stakeholders especially the Teddy Bear Clinic and our Psycho Social Support Services".

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The department said it was satisfied with the counselling process conducted by a multi-discipline team, made up of officials from the department, departments of Social Development, Health and the Teddy Bear Clinic. "We will continue to closely monitor the situation". "We are left without words", he said to EWN.

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