Gauteng suspends all orientation trips after Soweto school gang rape allegation

Gauteng suspends all orientation trips after Soweto school gang rape allegation
Gauteng Education MEC Andrek ‘Panyaza’ Lesufi (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mduduzi Ndzingi)

Following an alleged gang rape of a girl by three of her fellow Soweto school pupils, the Gauteng department of education has suspended all school induction trips in the province.

On Tuesday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited Fons Luminis Secondary School in Diepkloof, Soweto and addressed learners about an alleged rape said to have occurred during a school induction camp at De Deur, south of Johannesburg, over the weekend.

It’s a very difficult matter,” said Lesufi. He said that according to information the department had thus far when the learners arrived at their destination they were called together to be notified of what the ground rules for the weekend would be, and to explain what would be happening.

One of the ground rules was, of course, that boys should stay away from the girls and a clear divide was explained,” Lesufi said.

Information had been received, Lesufi said, that the girl had gone over to see one of the boys. Teachers said when they interviewed the learners, only two boys confessed to having been part of the incident.

On that basis, they went to open a case and took the girl for medical examination,” Lesufi said.

He said all necessary medical procedures had been followed. At an urgent meeting convened by the school’s governing body, Lesufi said a decision had been taken to suspend the three boys. Lesufi said he had met with the boys’ parents. They had been defensive and denied that their children took part in the incident.

A case has been opened, but because there is no proper rape kit in the area (where) the incident took place, the matter was referred to Diepkloof and later referred back to the Vaal after the medical processes to determine whether a rape occurred took place,” said Lesufi.

We are shocked. We are taken aback. We are devastated and emotionally drained, to be quite frank, that we have to expose our children to these kinds of activities,” said Lesufi.

The MEC said his department had already released social workers to give the relevant support needed, including to the boys, “so that we find a way of dealing with the matter”.

Lesufi said he had already issued an instruction that such trips are to be suspended at all schools in the province with immediate effect “until we know what happened”.

Lesufi said this was not the first time there had been such an incident in the province. He said that on another occasion at a school on the West Rand, a girl involved ended up committing suicide.

The reason I addressed the learners was for them to support the alleged victim so that we don’t go through that again. The reason she committed suicide was because other learners were taunting her,” he said.

Said Lesufi: “We are now putting a ring of support (around) the girl child, to the school and to everyone who might have witnessed the incident.”

A meeting with parents will be held at the school on Sunday 10 March. DM


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