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News24.com | 2 Northern Cape teachers in court on charges of sexual assault, attempting to rape pupils

Kuruman – Two Northern Cape teachers appeared in the Kuruman Magistrate’s court on Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting and attempting to rape pupils at Bothitong High School, 80km for Kuruman, Northern Cape police said.

One of the men, 35, has been charged with sexual assault and the other, 53, with attempted rape, Northern Cape police spokesperson Mohale Ramatseba told News24.

The men were arrested on Friday. They are expected back in court on Tuesday for bail applications.

On Friday, News24 reported that three teachers had been suspended by the Northern Cape Department of Education for alleged “sexual relationships” with pupils.

Ramatseba said only two of the suspended teachers had been arrested.

Also read: ‘Paedophile teachers turning girl learners into sex slaves’ – ANCWL

It is unclear if these relationships occurred.

It was previously reported that one teacher allegedly impregnated three pupils, but provincial education department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said there was insufficient evidence to prove this claim.

In a statement on Monday morning, Van der Merwe said the department believed the story had been “blown out of proportion, as it did not contain accurate information”.

‘Teenage pregnancy’

He said 16 pupils had fallen pregnant at the school over a period of three years, contrary to previous reports that 30 pupils were pregnant. It was unclear how many pupils in total attended the school.

In 2015, two pupils had become pregnant, four in 2016, and 10 in 2017, Van der Merwe said.

“Without a doubt, teenage pregnancy, especially in the John Toalo Gaetsewe District is impacting on the quality of education negatively.”

“In most cases, learners are exposed to social ills that are prevalent in our communities, which lead to teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse,” he said.

Van der Merwe told News24 that the three teachers were only suspended on Monday morning because one of them was on leave and the other two were sick.

He said the affected teachers had been requested to provide, within five working days, reasons why they should not be put on precautionary suspension.

This is a mandatory process in terms of precautionary suspension procedures.

“The purpose of the suspension is to ensure that the learners in question are protected from possible further emotional and physical distress, to ensure that there is no tampering with witnesses and that the department’s name is not brought into disrepute,” Van der Merwe said in the statement.