Prosecutors are expected to draft charges against five Umlazi teachers accused of sexual assault, the KwaZulu-Natal education department said.
Prosecutors are expected to have drafted the charges by the end of the week, with a trial beginning in two weeks, said spokeswoman Mbali Thusi in a statement. "This team will [Wednesday] start preparing for the hearing and this includes a series of consultations with witnesses."
Provincial education MEC Senzo Mchunu in the statement: "It is important that we allow the rule of law to take its course, and we should allow the prosecution team to do its work. This is a very sensitive and serious matter, and should be treated as such.
"We must take the interests of the affected learners [to] heart and allow both the external [criminal case] and our internal proceedings to unfold."
Teachers to be officially charged
The department suspended five teachers at the Makhumbuza High School following allegations of sexual misconduct against some female pupils.
The department's district director Mlungisi Ntombela said the teachers would be officially charged this week before appearing at a disciplinary hearing. One of the teachers was accused of raping a 19-year-old student in August last year. He allegedly forced himself on her in a laboratory after asking her to take some files there.
The teacher appeared in Durban Magistrate's Court on Monday. The matter was postponed when the court heard that more victims had come forward. He would face additional criminal charges.
Last week, two of the pupils at the school, including the rape victim, were transferred to a new school when it emerged that they were being threatened and intimidated, allegedly by fellow pupils and teachers.
Ntombela said there were fears that such behaviour could prevent other victims from coming forward. – (Sapa, June 2009)