We all know the shocking news about the sexual assaults that occurred at AB Xuma Primary School in Orlando involving more than 80 learners. A school guard was accused of sexual assault and a forensic cop was apprehended after similar accusations were levelled against him.
Well, with that said, the Department of Basic Education met with its stakeholders to discuss how to deal with sexual offenders. Agreements between the DBE and teacher unions in the Basic Education Sector were reached.
The department said in a statement, “The agreements were presented to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on October 17, 2018, in Parliament, Cape Town. The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) informed the Committee that the collective agreements would assist in creating safe environments for learners and enhance stability in schools. The most important agreement is with regards to sexual offenses committed by teachers against learners.”
According to DBE only three platforms were available to the learners who were victims of sexual misconduct or witnesses to offences: the Provincial Education Departments’ (PEDs’) internal disciplinary hearing processes; the South African Council for Educators (SACE) investigative process; and the ELRC arbitration process, in the event that the teacher refers a dispute to the Council.
“A partnership has also been initiated with the Registrar of the National Sexual Offenders Register, and a Memorandum of Understanding has been put in place with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for the use of the Children’s Court for special cases, and the recruitment of intermediaries.
“The ELRC and SACE have established a partnership to synchronise the processes of the two entities in relation to special cases where children are involved and both have agreed to collaborate on an awareness and advocacy campaign. The ELRC has also partnered with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure that the names of people involved in sexual offenses with children are registered.” [extract from a DBE statement]