Report on Sexual Violence

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


22 January 2002

Documents handed out
Sexual Violence at Schools Report on Public Hearings held by Provinces - Information Services Reseach (See Appendix)

The report on Sexual Violence in schools was distributed. The Committee was informed that the issues presented in the report would be discussed on 12 Febuary 2002.

18 January 2002


The Select Committee on Education and Recreation requested Standing Committees in all provinces to hold public hearings on sexual violence in schools. This came after the Human Rights Watch sent a report to the Select Committee titled “Sexual Violence in South African Schools�. The report indicates that sexual abuse and harassment of girls by educators and fellow learners is widespread in South African schools.

The following provinces held public hearings:
North West.
Northern Cape.
Eastern Cape.
Free State.

The Western Cape did not have public hearings, but had a debate in the Legislature. They also have guidelines on how to deal with sexual violence in schools. The Gauteng province had scheduled to have their public hearings public hearings on the 12th of November 2001, and their report is still being awaited.

This report focuses on the submissions made in the provinces, and the recommendations from the stakeholders.


The table below shows cases that were reported to the police in different regions of the North West province. Most of the cases are not reported. These are cases of rape, abduction and indecent assault.



Indecent assault







Groot Marico















Moretele District

























Temba District
The table below indicates that girls from the age of 15 years and below have fallen victim to sexual violence. These incidents happen at home, on the way to school and even at school. The victims know most of the perpetrators, either as neighbours or as relatives. Some of the cases are never reported, some are withdrawn or dropped. However, the report does not indicate the extent to which sexual violence happens at school.

Educators report most of these cases to the police after being told by the learners themselves. In some cases, when the educator reports an alleged incident to the parents, the families concerned choose to deal with the issues.

Age of child



Where it happened


Whether police have been informed

Status of the case




School toilets

Unknown man

Suspect handed to the police





On the way to school (other girls were also raped)

ZCC Bishop who gave her a lift






Bushes in the village

Known villager

Suspect arrested.

Blood samples disappeared and the court not proceed with the case







Parents withdrew the case




Aunt's house


Case never reported

Resolved as a family affair

9 and 10





Case with CPU[1]






Neighbour (16)


The boy was released because he is a juvenile








Submission by the South African Police Service (SAPS)
According to the SAPS in the area, they work with the Child Protection Unit (CPU) and social workers when dealing with sexual violence cases against children. The CPU informed the public that they have the right to report cases without giving their names. The Unit also stated that educators have the right to reopen cases that have been withdrawn by parents.

The CPU voiced their concern that parents do not advise and guide their children. They appealed to parents to talk to their children.


As is the case in the Temba District, the table below shows that children are raped by people who are known to them. Cases that were reported are mostly girls between the ages of 8 and 17. These incidents also happen either at home, at school or on the way to school.



Nature of violence

Where it happened


Whether police have been informed

Status of case






No case opened

Girl threatened by perpetrator













Case postponed

No interpreter
Man does not speak
Setswana or English

Pre-school children




Their driver

Sentenced for 1 year





Grandmothers house


The girl reported this to the neighbours

Girl removed by here father from the house







Division among educators

8 and 9





No case opened

Parents denied incident (took money from perpetrator)






Reported to Principal




Raped and murdered

Local stadium

Group of boys







Mother's ex-boyfriend

Case reported by educator

Educator failed to testify after receiving threats






Man released

No evidence


The CPU in Rustenburg said that they:

Needed full cooperation of parents and educators and appealed to them that they have to support the children.
Visit schools to give lessons about sexual abuse.
Have also started the “Adopt a Cop� programme where cops will be “adopted� in schools. Children would go to a particular police officer when they have problems.


The police in Klerksdorp reported that the most dominating crime in schools is assault in classrooms and toilets. They suggested that educators should teach children how to report these incidents. The Child Protection Unit in the area visits schools to give learners lessons on sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse as well as crime prevention.

A Social Worker informed the Committee about a case of a 15-year old girl who was raped on her way to school. She reported the matter after 3 days, and the court ruled that there was not sufficient evidence, although the doctor confirmed that the girl was raped.

Another case, which was reported to the police, is that of a 16-year old girl who was killed and cut into pieces. The community knows the perpetrators but no one is prepared to come forward.

The Committee was also informed about a case of an educator who abused a learner. The learner reported this to her class teacher but was threatened and told to change the details of the case.

Learners appealed to the public to protect and support them because they are victimised by educators at school. They informed the Committee that they are usually failed if they refuse advances from educators.





Where it happened


Whether police have been informed

Status of the case







Out on bail




Principals car

Principal (44 years)








Case reported to the police

Boy still at school. Never arrested.






Dealt by two families. Younger brother arrested after also raping the girl

The boy was released on bail







Released on bail







Case withdrawn


The hearings in Mmabatho were not well attended. Cases that were reported at the hearing are:

The case of an 11 years old girl who was raped by her 35 year old uncle. The girl was given orders to change her statement and the case was withdrawn after family members met and decided that it was a family matter.
The case of a man who transported primary schoolchildren. He raped two girls aged 7 and 8. The case was reported and the man was arrested, charged and sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Recommendations from the North West Province

SAPS/ Child Protection Unit
The South African Police Services and the Child Protection Unit recommended that:

There be close co-orperation between the Departments of Education, Justice, Social Development and the SAPS. They recommended that there should be programmes to educate children on how to protect themselves from sexual violence.

Schools stop sending children out with donation lists, as some people take advantage of the children and abuse them.
Investigating officers be trained for the job. Steps should be taken against investigators who accept bribes from perpetrators.

The community be taught to support rape victims and not stigmatise them.

All Education, Health, Justice, Social Welfare, the SAPS and the community must come up with a safety policy for schools.

Educators and Unions
The educators and the unions recommended that:

Educators should not be involved with any learner irrespective of whether the leaner is in his school or not.
The public should be educated on the constitution, especially sections pertaining to sexual relationships with minors.
The SAPS should protect informers to avoid harassment and victimisation by perpetrators or community.
The Department of Education must make policies that will protect the educator who reports the case to the police.
There should be a policy on sexual abuse in schools to control harassment in schools.
Social workers should be adopted in schools to assist the guidance teacher.
The Child Protection Unit should be visible in schools and meet with educators regularly.
Parents should take trouble reporting their children's' cases to the police.

Social workers
Some of the recommendations made by the Social workers are that:

Crisis centres are needed in police stations.
There should be awareness campaigns in schools and pre-schools on sexual violence in schools.
Parents should be made to understand the impact of rape on their children if the perpetrator is not arrested. They should support their children during court cases and should not force their children to withdraw cases.
District surgeons should be reinstated and work effectively with the courts.
Mobile police stations should be established in rural and farm areas.
The media should be used to educate communities about sexual violence.


Response in Kimberly was poor. No public input was received from schools as they were preparing for examinations.

The Committee was informed that:

Parents felt that educators need to be protected against sexual violence in school. Legislation is needed to protect them.
Cases of sexual violence take long to be resolved. In one case mentioned, the case has been going on for three years, and the perpetrators are not being found guilty.
Police do not do enough to protect learners especially after school when they use short cuts to go home. Police patrols or visible policing is needed.
Two girls aged 9 and 10 were raped throughout the night. Their grandmother said that more should be done to help the children deal with the problem and there should be social workers in school do deal with these problems immediately.

The educators told the Committee that they felt that they no not have adequate training to counsel learners. They also emphasised the need to have a social worker in schools in order to deal with the problems. They said that sexual violence leads to drug abuse, violence and other misdemeanours. Parents and educators should be trained in order to help with these problems.


Learners felt that provision should be made for social workers to be at schools. They mentioned that it is easier to talk to. They also said that educators should be trained to provide immediate trauma relief for learners.

De Aar
The Committee was informed that cases take too long to be resolved and learners felt that they cannot trust the police. Some cases are never followed up and the processes take long.

They urged the police services and social services to share information with learners in order to raise awareness.

Recommendations by the Northern Cape
Legislation should be drafted so that the processes of dealing with these cases could be expedited.
A well co-ordinated procedure involving the Police Services, Department of Education, Social Services and Justice should be developed.
Police visibility is required before and after school in order to protect learners from harassment by others.
A social worker is needed on duty to respond to problems immediately.
Educators and parents should be trained to give counseling where needed.
Educators also need protection as they are sometimes also targeted.
The community and the SGB should play a role as this problem originates in the community. Community forums should participate in combating the problem.


The Standing Committee on Education, Environmental and Cultural Affairs in the Western Cape reported that the provincial Education Department briefed them on child abuse in schools and findings of the Human Rights Watch. The legislature also held a debate on the 30th of May 2001.

The provincial Department of Education has also launched a booklet called “Abuse No More�, which is the result of two years of the development work by the department and officials, in consultation with NGOs and other specialists. According to the MEC for Education in the Western Cape, Ms. Hellen Zille, this document:

Is a guideline for action.
Gives all the symptoms that a child displays when he or she may be abused.
Gives all the steps that an educator is required to take to deal with it.
Gives all the guidelines of protecting the child, especially confidentiality, and ensures that he or she never has to explain the incident more than once.
Has all the support mechanisms in place from psychological to medical to ensure that [we] can deal with this problem.

The department has also produced a training video and has training teams to ensure that educators in all the schools are trained to actively implement these protocols. This project is going to be done in conjunction with the Departments of Welfare and Health.


The Committee visited 34 schools in the Eastern Cape. They met with the school management, learners, educators and school governing bodies (SGBs) to hear evidence on sexual harassment, abuse and violence in schools.

The Committee identified factors that contribute towards sexual violence in schools. These are:

Drug Abuse: The laxity of schools in allowing the use of drugs is a fundamental problem.

Poverty: Students who come from poor families become involved with lecturers when promised that they will be provided for. Most cannot get out of the relationships when abused because of what the man has spent on them.

In some families learners are encouraged to be involved with educators to get special treatment or money. Educators also take advantage of learners who come from poor families.

Drunkenness: The use of liquor by students in schools contributes to sexual violence, and girls are sexually assaulted by their classmates as a result of this.

Abusing Authority: Educators initiate sexual relations with learners in exchange of favours like good grades or money. This encourages prostitution on the part of female learners.

Stereotype life situation: Many women believe that men dominate over women.

During the public hearings, the Committee discovered that there are schools where most serious cases of sexual violence happen. These are:

Ntabeni Secondary School in Engobo, where an educator impregnated about 20 learners.

Bongweni Primary School, where an educator verbally abuses learners and forces them to urinate or undress in front of the other learners.

Herschel Junior Secondary School, where two educators were first reported of having sexual relations with learners in 1991. An SGB member died of a heart attack as a result of an argument with one of the educators.

Vaalbank Junior Secondary School, where a deputy principal was involved in a relationship with a learner below the age of consent

Mathew Goniwe Senior Secondary School, where an educator twice raped and infected a learner with HIV. It is also alleged that the same educator infected two other learners, but nothing has been done about the case.

Mdeni School
Learners reported that there is female-to-female violence and male-to-female violence at school. They said that they are afraid to report these cases for fear of victimisation. The Committee observed that the element of sexual violence is rife and learners were shy to speak about it out of fear of being ridiculed and rejected by their peers.

The principal of the school reported about a case of an 18-year old learner who was kept by an educator at his home for two weeks. This educator was transferred and later suspended.

The school has a guidance educator who deals with matters of sexual harassment. The Principal, parents and the SGB reported that there were no cases of sexual harassment at the school.

Ntabeni Secondary School
The learners at the school reported that there were instances of sexual harassment by educators. They were, however, not comfortable to talk about it.

The parents, SGBs and the youth confirmed that there is sexual abuse at the school. An example cited was that of an educator who has been accused of having affairs with schoolgirls. The educator impregnated about 20 schoolgirls in the same school. The matter was reported to the local community by the youth. The community is divided on this matter because some parents benefit form this acts. The principal reported the educator to the SGB and they could not take action because parents of the victims do not talk about this, while some get financial support from the educators.

The local youth intervened and demanded that the educator must be dismissed, as his behaviour will have a negative impact on the performance of the school.

Reuben Ntuli Junior Secondary School
Presenters at the school reported that:

Sexual abuse is prevalent in the area where the school is situated, and local people were abusing the students.
There is no security at the school, and this is not safe for learners and educators since harassment usually takes place at gunpoint.
In a recent incident, a learner was raped and the matter was reported to the parents, who reported it to the police. The parents also claimed lobola from the perpetrator.

Upper Corona Senior Secondary School- Libode
Learners at the school reported that:

Sexual violence does happen at the school.
Educators and learners are alleged to be involved.
Learners also said that educators have love affairs with learners. One of the educators impregnated a learner, and threatened those who accused him with dismissal.

The school management and the SGB denied that there is sexual violence at the school. They said that they would take appropriate action if these cases were reported. They also told the Committee that learners do not report these cases for fear of their safety.

Mthweni Senior Secondary School
Learners informed the Committee that sexual harassment is a big problem at the school. They mentioned that:

Certain forms of sexual harassment happen in classrooms. Some educators would pretend to help girls and fondle their breasts. Others would do it in front of the class.
They experience sexual violence in their relationships and from educators. Some girls have relationships with educators.
They are subjected to degrading sexualised language from their educators. Learners who clash with educators on relationships are subjected to degrading comments. Other educators apply corporal punishment if rejected by learners.

The school management denied that there are instances of sexual violence at the school. They said that if it happened, learners should have reported it to the principal or whomever they trust. They, however, confirmed that corporal punishment is used to instill discipline in learners due to their “unbecoming� behaviour.

Zanokanyo Senior Secondary School

The learners, management and the SGB reported that there are no cases of sexual violence at their school. They did complain though, that crime is rife in the area.

Newell High School

The learners at the school voiced their concern about those who are willing to be sexually involved with educators. Some learners are pressurised into getting sexually involved with educators for fear of failing.

The SGB and management of the school informed the Committee that:

3 cases were reported from 1999, and that two of them were settled internally. The learners reported these cases to the Principal.
There is a disciplinary committee that attends to cases of sexual abuse and violence in the school.
The school also has life-skills programme for prevention of sexual abuse, which is presented by NGOs, Crime Stop, Youth for Christ and Child Line.

The school also indicated that they have a problem because:

The Department of Education takes a long time to finalise cases reported to them.
Educators are aware of legislation regarding the conduct of educators, but there is no documentation to substantiate that from the department.
Some parents prefer to keep quiet about affairs between educators and their children, saying that children has a constitutional right to do what they want.
Even though the school has its own policies, the department has the tendency to support the parents.
The department does not issue hard penalties when offenders are found guilty.

Recommendations by the school

The school recommended that:

The department should formulate a framework to deal with these cases.
Existing legislation should be amended to address the issue of sexual violence and HIV/Aids infections.
The department must invoke strong penalties that will serve as a deterrent to offenders.

Lungiso High School

The learners admitted that there is sexual violence at their school and that educators are publicly doing it. They told the Committee that:

They sometimes do not know where to report it.
The Learner Representative Council (LRC) reported certain incidents to the staff and the SGB.
They are not aware of a code of conduct in their school.
Some parents agree with the educators.
Some learners agree that they are tempted to be involved with educators in other schools.
Some parents are unemployed, which is why they rely on these educators for school fees, uniforms and transport.

The principal of the school reported that there was an incident of an educator having a relationship with a learner, and he called the educator and ordered him to stop the affair. The affair continued without the principal's knowledge and the SGB was not aware of the incident. The Committee was also informed about a case of an educator who sexually assaulted a learner. The parent of the learner reported the case to the principal.

Another case of sodomy was reported to an educator. Boys aged between 9 and 12 years and a White adult male were involved. This case is being investigated by the police, but has been dragging on for a long time.

The management reported that:

There is a code of conduct at the school.
A draft policy was being discussed with parents, and will be discussed with the learners as well.
There is life-skills at school.
Educators attend life-skills courses and are sharing the information with Grades 11 and 12.

Gamble High School

Learners told the Committee that:

Sexual violence at the school happens between learners and between educators and learners. Certain cases that are reported to the principal are ignored.
An educator was sexually involved with a Grade 9 learner who subsequently fell pregnant.
A caretaker harassed a learner. The principal and the matron were informed but the harassment still continues.
Many cases are not reported for fear of being laughed at.

The management and the SGB told the Committee that that they had no knowledge of sexual violence being reported since 1999. They were instructed to investigate allegations made by learners.

Bethelsdorp High School

Learners informed the Committee about an educator who was sexually harassing learners. This is still continuing even after the incident was reported to the management and the SGB.

Educators at the school confessed that males are “weak� and easily enticed by female learners. A student councilor who handles these cases reported that most of these incidents happen outside the school premises and learners are involved. Cases that were reported since 1999 are:

11 of sexual abuse.
6 of date rape.
1 of gang rape
3 of statutory rape.

During this period, a case of sexual violence between an educator and a learner was reported. The educator has since been sentenced. Educators and learners report the cases directly to the student counseling unit, which then takes the necessary steps. The counseling team is co-ordinated with:

The South African Police Services.
The Child Protection Unit
Child Line.
A social were and a psychologist.
The Rape Crisis Centre.

These organisations regularly present Preventative Community programmes at school. Regular life-skills programmes are also presented at school, either in groups, in classroom or at mass assemblies.


The school recommended that:

Pastors and Priests of churches where victims are affiliated are requested to support learners and their parents in the process of healing.

The State should consider appointing Student Councilors as in the Western Cape.

Hillside High School

Learners told the Committee that there were no incidents of sexual violence at the school. However, they wanted to know how to deal with it if it happened.

The management of the school also said there were no such cases, and that they would make sure that the department charges the culprits if it happens. The principal warned male educators that he will act against them and support the parents should acts of this nature occur.

Paterson Senior Secondary School

The learners at the school reported that sexual harassment only occurs amongst the learners. However, they complained about an educator who beats learners on the buttocks, but this was never reported to the principal. The learners also spoke about the harassment of children at home, which affects the culture of learning and performance of these learners.

The management and SGB confirmed that harassment occurred only amongst the learners. An example was a case of a learner who was suspended for exposing his private parts to other learners. Cases that occur outside the school premises are announced to learners at the assembly to make them aware that this cannot be tolerated.

Bongweni Primary School

Learners told the Committee of an educator who:

Forces female and male learners to urinate in front of the class.
Buys sweets and forces girls to get the sweets with their mouths.
Tells female learners who are late for class that they were being kept by their boyfriends and that he will sew their vaginas.
Calls female learners to empty classrooms to kiss them.
Would instruct learners to take off their pants to show the class whether they have pubic hair whether their penises have grown.

Educators confirmed the allegations and said that they tried to warn the educator. The educators also informed the Committee that sexual harassment is between the learners themselves.

The SGB reported that 2 cases were reported since 1999. In one case, a Grade 4 learner raped a Grade 3 learner. The case was reported to the parent. This case was also reported to the police. The child was traumatised and could not give proper evidence. Counseling was recommended. The case is still going on and the boy has been transferred to another school.

With regard to the educator who harassed learners, parents of the affected learners were called in and the case was discussed. The principal apologised on behalf of the school. The educator committed the same offence again and the district manger temporarily removed him for the school. The case was reported to the regional office, but there has not been any response to date. The district officer decided to transfer the educator to another school pending the response of the regional office.


The Committee recommended that:

The educator concerned be suspended.
Disciplinary action be taken against him.

The school suggested that cases of this nature be expedited.

Alexandria High, Zuney Intermediate, Klipfontein High and Ukhayo High School

The LRCs and the SGBs of these schools told the Committee that there is no sexual violence in their school. However, Ukhanyo reported that sexual violence takes place outside the school premises amongst learners. Learners who are reported are called in and warned.

Alexandria reported that there are elected school representatives in the community, which makes it difficult for sexual violence to occur, even outside the school premises. Incidents that happen outside are reported and action is taken against the learners responsible.

Zolani Junior Secondary School

There is a pending sexual harassment case that was reported in 1997. Since then, no other cases have been reported. The school principal, in collaboration with the SGB and the LRC, are committed to ensuring that the teaching environment is free of sexual harassment and abuse. They informed the Committee that:

They drafted a school policy prohibiting sexual relations between educators and learners.
Female educators have introduced a teaching programme for students on life-skills. However, learners unfortunately do not support the programme.
The school and the local community have taken a collaborative approach on matters that involve sexual violence or abuse against learners.
Workshops have been organised by the local community for members of immediate families on issues of sexual violence against children.
Social workers and the SAPS have been engaged in situations where cases of sexual abuse has been established or suspected.

There are no HIV/Aids programmes that have been initiated by the school.

Herschel Junior Secondary School

The Committee was informed that:

Two educators who had sexual relations with learners were removed from the school. This was done by the principal in consultation with the SGB. These educators were first reported in 1991 and were given a second chance after apologising. The educators committed the same offence again in 1998. Members of the committee dismissed them. The SGB and the principal attempted to talk to them, but a heated argument between an SGB member and one of the educators led to the member collapsing and dying of heart attack.

The Department of Education held a disciplinary hearing, which resulted in one of the educators resigning and the other one pleading guilty. He was pardoned by the department and transferred to another school.

The school and the community have formed a partnership to deal with issues of the community.

The school has also formed partnerships with other nearby schools. The community has been educated on the existence of sexual abuse and where to report it when noticed or suspected. Social workers have also been involved.

Lukanji Senior Primary School

The school informed the Committee about a case of an educator who sexually abused more than 4 boys. The Child Protection Unit and social workers were involved in this case, and have requested the school to educate students on issues of sexual violence. The educator was found guilty by the Department and has since been discharged from teaching.

Bomeni Secondary School

The school informed the Committee that:

The last reported case of a sexual relationship between a learner and an educator was in 1982. Members of the community removed the educator from the school.

There were 2 cases of rape involving learners in 1998 and 2000. The principal told the Committee that the school could not get involved as the incidents happened outside the school premises. Both learners have since left the school.

The educators, in collaboration the SGB, have implemented the HIV/Aids programme to educate learners.

Vaalbank Junior Secondary School

The school informed the Committee about a case of a Deputy Principal who had a sexual relationship with a learner. The matter was referred to social workers and the Department of Education. There has been no progress on this case and the deputy principal is still teaching at the school.

There was another case of an educator who had a sexual relationship with a learner from another school who was below the age of consent. The matter was reported to the police and the child's family, and criminal charges were laid against the educator. The educator won the case.

The Committee observed that members of the community were divided over these cases. It appeared as if some members took sides with the culprits.

Sam Xali Higher Primary School

The Committee was informed that there have never been reports of sexual violence committed at the school. The school has a partnership with the local clinic, Social workers and parents to educate learners on sexual violence and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Mathew Goniwe Senior Secondary School

The school told the Committee about a case of an educator who twice raped a Grade 11 learner. After the second rape incident, the educator told the learner that he is HIV positive and gave her 4 tablets to take. Blood tests have revealed that the learner is now also HIV positive.

It is also alleged that the same educator has infected two other learners but they are afraid to come forward. The case was reported to the principal and the SGB two months after the incident happened. The principal was expected to report the matter to the Department of Education but never did.


The Committee sent the report on the hearings to the provincial MEC for Education with recommendations that:

Internal disciplinary processes should immediately be instituted against the said educator.
The educator should be removed from the school with immediate effect.
Criminal charges should be laid.

Dangwana Senior Secondary School

The Committee was told that there have not been any cases of sexual violence since 1999. The educators welcomed the initiative taken by Government in formulating policy on sexual violence. They requested the department's assistance in the implementation of the policy.
Ndawana Junior Secondary School

The Committee was told that there have not been cases of sexual violence since 1999. Rape cases that occur in the village are not taken forward, and if the police are called, they take too long to respond. Learners recommended that those who impregnate others should be suspended, together with the pregnant ones. The learners told the committee that there were educators who have sexual relationships with learners.

The parents and the SGB voiced their concern about male learners who impregnate female learners. Most parents feel that in such cases both learners must be suspended.

Jojo Senior Secondary School

The Committee was informed about a male educator who proposes love to learners. Parents reported this to the principal but no action has been taken against the educator.

The learners told the Committee that harassment of female learners by male learners occurs at the school. There are also educators who continually initiate sexual relations with learners, and this leads to confrontations between students and educators. These incidents are reported to the principal, but he takes too long to respond.

Some of the problems that the school has, include:

Verbal abuse.
Racial abuse.
Educator absenteeism.

Mvenyane Senior Secondary School

The Committee was told that there are educators who have love relationships with learners. One such case was reported to the department. This has led to learners who have relationships with the same educator fighting amongst each other. Male learners also loose respect and fight with educators who are involved with the learners.

The educators said that they appreciate the intervention from the Government on sexual violence and abuse in schools. They also said that Government should help with the implementation of the policy.

Sukude High School

There were no incidents of sexual violence reported at the school. The learners said that they do not know about such cases and have never heard of the school's code of conduct. The educators welcomed the impending policy and urged the department to help in implementing it.

Tyali Secondary School

The Committee was informed that the Principal of the school has been suspended, pending the outcome of investigations into allegations of sexual harassment of school children since 1996. The principal was initially chased away by learners, but came back in 1999.

The case was reported to the district office and the principal has since been suspended.

Hector Peterson

The LRC informed the Committee that there are reports of sexual harassment at the school. Cases of an educator harassing learners were reported to the LRC and the principal. The management, which dealt with the cases, told to the Committee that they did not report these cases as they were without substance.

The educators told the Committee that there were no incidents of sexual violence at the school.

Inkwenkwezi High School

The Committee was told that:

Many learners at the school are subjected to sexual violence.
Most of these happen outside the school premises.
Each year, about 30 cases of sexual violence are reported. This is in the form of learners against learners, within families and neighbours.
Sexual harassment also happens amongst learners, but perpetrators are usually called and reprimanded by management.
There was a learner who harassed an educator, and he never returned to school after he was told to bring his parent.

A school counseling desk has been set up for support at the school. There is also a spiritual group session held at the school. In addition, the learners have established a peer support group. Some cases are referred to the Child Protection Unit, FAMSA and SANCA. There is also a life-skills programme at the school, which members of the SGB, the learners and educators have undergone.

Nkangeleko High School

Although there are no incidents of sexual violence at the school, it does happen outside the school environment. The Committee was told that:

Prevalent cases of sexual abuse are committed by neighbours and family members to learners.
Educators report cases to the Child Protection Unit. However, the police take time to process these cases.
Minor learners perform sexual acts in classrooms.

The community has been made aware of the extent of sexual violence in the area. The school is also involved in awareness programmes with the community, and is working with SANCA and social workers to counsel learners.

Mababoti High School

The Committee found it very difficult to get co-orperation from the educators. It was later established that they are involved in cases of sexual harassment against the learners. The Committee was told that:

Learners reported 4 cases to management. More of these cases were unearthed when the principal investigated further. These incidents happen between educators and learners.

Educators are having sexual relations with learners. This has never been reported to the department because victims are not co-operative. Affected educators have denied their involvement. Some of the learners depend on the educators for financial support.

The school is now working on a policy on sexual relations between learners and educators.

Vuli Valley High School

The Committee was informed that sexual relations between educators and learners at the school are rife, and there is nothing that management can do, as they are not reported to them. There are two cases of sexual violence at the school, which happened between educators and learners. In one case, and educator impregnated a learner, and the case has been reported to the department and the SAPS. The educator is still at school.

In one case involving a learner who was harassing another learner, the police we called in to intervene.

Mbulelo Combined School

The Committee was informed that:

Most of the cases reported happen outside the school.
Parents do not play an active role as some of these incidents happen in the family.

There have been cases where perpetrators have been prosecuted, but others could not be found guilty because of the criminal justice system.

General Finding of the Committee

Some cases of sexual violence and abuse are not reported for fear of victimisation.

Educators are using their authority to abuse learners. When these cases are reported, educators get transferred to other schools and no disciplinary action is taken.

There is no gender-based violence policy that is actively enforced to deal with sexual violence and harassment of learners in schools.

Counseling services for both victims and perpetrators it does not exist in schools.

Sports events and social activities, such as farewells, have been cited as platforms for sexual violence and abuse of learners and educators.

Some public representatives and senior ranking officials and community leaders are involved in this kind of misconduct.

Some educators exploit the poverty of parents to have relationships with learners. As a result, some parents try to protect these perpetrators because they benefit from them.

Co-ordination between Education, Welfare, Health, Safety and Security and the Criminal Justice system on investigating cases of sexual violence to ensure punishment is ineffective, ill-conceived or nonexistent.

Some place, especially rural areas do not have telephones to report cases of sexual violence or abuse in schools.

There is no legal representation for learners during court cases, whereas perpetrators do have representation.

Recommendations by the Eastern Cape

Educators who are involved in sexual violence and abuse of learners in schools should not be transferred to other school. The Committee recommends that they should be suspended and disciplinary action be taken against them. Further criminal charges should be taken against them when necessary.

The department should develop policy with punitive measure and standard procedure for intervention against the abuse of children and sexual violence at schools.

There should be a link between the Departments of Education, Welfare, Safety and Security, Health and Justice to deal with such cases.

A telephone hotline should be provided, especially in rural areas, for the victims of abuse in order to enable them to report the cases without delay.

Victims of sexual violence, especially young children, should be provided with legal assistance when faced with lawyers of the perpetrators during court proceedings.

Sports events and school activities must be closely monitored.

The department should provide a counseling service to both the victims and the perpetrators of violence.


Members of the Portfolio Committee on Education in the Free State province and some members of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation conducted public hearings in schools in Bloemfontein, Kroonstad and Qwa-Qwa.

The Committee noted that sexual violence is a very sensitive topic and not everyone could boldly express himself or herself. The provincial report looks at factors attributed as causes of sexual harassment and barriers to reporting abuse. The Committee also made some general observations and recommendations.

Factors attributed as causes of sexual harassment

Factors that the Committee identified as causing sexual harassment are:

Female learners dressing inadequately (in short skirts).
The failure of school authorities to respond decisively to cases of sexual abuse, which discourages learners from reporting similar cases.
Learners' uncertainty of the outcomes of reporting such cases imposes serious fear.
Unethical behaviour of educators.
Free access to alcohol from taverns that are situated in close proximity to the school premise.
Learners thinking that it is acceptable to have sexual relationships with educators
Verbal abuse: The Committee found out that both learners and educators are guilty of this offence. Educators use derogatory names on learners and some learners proposes to young educators.

Barriers to reporting sexual abuse:

The failure of school authorities to respond to cases of sexual abuse, which discourages learners from reporting similar cases.
Learners' uncertainty on the outcomes of the cases.

General Observations
The Committee noted that:

Sexual harassment is prevalent in schools. It mainly occurs between learners and educators.
A Lack of sex education also exacerbates the situation.

The Committee noted during the hearings that violence is rife and prevalent at the Free State schools. They noted that this problem impacts on the schools and results in:

Continued deterioration of discipline within the school premises.
Learners mistrusting educators.
Deteriorating academic performance as learners who maintain sexual relationships with educators are often favoured and obtain better marks.
Sexually harassed learners dropping out of school to avoid embarrassment.

Recommendations by the Free State province

The Committee recommends that:

The Department of Education, in close relation with the Department of Social Development and the Police, conduct a further inquiry into this matter. This should not be done in public.
Every schools' code of conduct prohibit sexual harassment and sexual relations between a learner and an educator, as well as between a learner and a head master or deputy head master of the school concerned.
Sex education be introduced or encouraged to furnish learners with more information regarding sexual harassment.
Future public hearings be held in camera because of the sensitivity of the topic.
It is necessary that social workers are appointed or should visit schools to detect tendencies of sexual violence.


The Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture in the Mpumalanga province visited the Highveld, Eastval and the Lowveld regions to conduct public hearings. The Committee discovered that children were being abused at home, on their way to school and also at school. They noted the ways in which abuse occurs, why this is happening and made recommendations to help to solve this problem.

Ways in which abuse occurs

Forced child prostitution:
Girls would not come to school because they are being kept as sex slaves by elderly people for very little or no payment.
Because of poverty, some children prostitute themselves to get paid.
Where there are factories close to schools, factory workers abuse the children and pay them very little.
Some children prostitute themselves to get food to fend for themselves.

Migrant workers and starvation of kids in rural areas:
Because parents work far from homes, some children stay alone and end up being abused by some community members.
Some children look after themselves, and this leads to prostitution in order to get food.

Teacher to leaner abuse:
Some educators abuse learners and are not dismissed. Instead, they get transferred to other schools.
Educators buy liquor and other intoxicating drugs for learners before abusing learners.
Educators abuse learners verbally.
Abuse at primary and secondary schools is disguised as “affairs�.
Children between 6 and 7 years in lower grades are also abused.
Educators demand sexual favours from learners in return for good grades.
This problem is prevalent among male educators.
Some educators are not disciplined and are made to provide for the families with financial and other means.

Learner to learner abuse:
Male learners rape female learners at bashes (parties) and during school trips.
Lack of privacy at home leads to children doing things seen at home on other young kids.
Perpetrators are male and victims are female.

Family members to learner abuse:
Either the stepfather, uncles, those who are breadwinners or biological fathers, are perpetrators of abuse at home.
Mothers denying the truth about rapists or other culprits.
Sodomy is also discovered in families where grandfathers sodomise their grandchildren.

Cultural practices:
Traditional courts prosecute rape and abuse cases without the relevant authority.
The payment of damages (inhlawulo) leads to cases not being reported to courts.
Families accepting lobola for newly born babies. This leads to children being abused by the “in-laws� at an early age.

Community members to learner:
Families make matters worse by demanding compensation from the abusers.
Traditional and family courts prosecute rape and abuse cases.
Pastors and priests also subject kids to abuse by marrying them at an early age.

Reasons why abuse happens

Factors that were cited during the hearings as reasons why abuse is taking place are:

Lack of awareness campaigns on child abuse, leading to perpetrators being able to escape.
Poverty, which leads to children subjecting themselves to prostitution.
Lack of integration of government departments on poverty alleviation programmes.
Power relations and negative aspects of our cultures.
Lack of sex education and discussions between parents and children as well as between educators and learners.
The notion that girls are sex objects.
Lack of school transport.
Lack of recreational facilities.
Shortage of specialised children's courts.
The belief that sleeping with an under-aged child will cure one of HIV/Aids.
Failure of some parents to cooperate with educators.
Failure of the Department of Education to dismiss educators who are abusers.

Recommendations by Mpumalanga

The Committee recommends that:

Sexual violence be declared a priority crime.
The media be used to build awareness of sexual abuse.
A National and Provincial Men's Indaba be held by the President.
The Department of Education immediately dismisses all those engaged sexually with school children.
Sex education be taught in schools and homes in languages understood by those receiving the lessons.
The Departments of Education, Social Services, Health, the Police and the medical personnel establish victim empowerment centres or trauma centres to deal with cases of sexual abuse.
The Department of Social Services establishes a social security grant for those living in poverty so that children must not be abused as a result thereof.
Children's courts that will be children friendly be established to ensure that perpetrators are punished for the actions.
Training of the police to handle cases of child abuse.
Government makes available school transport for learners traveling long distances.

[1] Child Protection Unit

[2] The girl was again raped by her grandfather


No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: