Urgent and immediate action is required in strengthening the screening and vetting procedures conducted by the South African Council of Educators (SACE). Year on year SACE have failed victims of sexual abuse, grooming and other heinous acts committed by perpetrators within the education system.
According to the 2018/19 Annual Report tabled by SACE, the province of KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number of misdemeanours conducted by teachers against pupils. This is simply unacceptable and the rise in sexual misconduct cases being reported requires urgent intervention.
128 cases of overall misconduct were reported in KZN of which 21 are of a sexual nature. Furthermore, 36 cases were related to verbal abuse, harassment and defamation in KZN classrooms.
It is disheartening that the failure of SACE and the KZN Department of Education to properly vet and screen teachers entering the profession have seen the lives of young pupils destroyed and psychologically damaged.
One case is one too many, we cannot send our children to school simply for them to return home broken, battered and abused. This coupled with the increase of violence at schools and the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among the youth is worrying.
The IFP calls on KZN Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu, to urgently meet with SACE and various stakeholders to ensure proper screening takes place and that no stone is left unturned in rooting our corruption. Those who seek to undermine our education system must be duly dealt with.
Sexual offenders have no place in the education profession. KwaZulu-Natal can ill-afford these shocking number of cases as the learners are the ones who have to bear the brutal brunt and suffer the consequences in our classrooms.
We cannot expect miraculous results when our learners are being taught in environments which are not conducive to teaching and learning.
The IFP believes that the key to addressing the issue of sexual abuse in schools is for stronger action to be taken by SACE and the KZN Department of Education.
Our learners come first as their education is a Constitutional right and we will work together with the Department and law enforcement to ensure that those who commit crimes against children see the full might of the law.
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Education,
Mrs Thembeni KaMadlopha-Mthethwa MPL,
071 884 3844 / 079 114 3015
Image Credit: https://indianacesa.org/prevention/