POLICE have arrested the 55-yearold teacher accused of sexually assaulting numerous pupils at Valhalla primary school in Centurion.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the man accused of inappropriately touching 23 children – in grades 5, 6 and 7 – since last June, was being held at the Pretoria Central police station.
Speaking to the Pretoria News, The Star’s sister paper, before the arrest, Dlamini said: “The charge on the docket opened against the accused is sexual assault. We will only arrest him once we have enough evidence to take him to court.
“If we just arrest him without evidence, the case will be struck off the roll,” Dlamini said.
He said that according to procedure, the investigating officer would decide if the police had enough evidence to go and arrest the teacher.
The Gauteng Education Department said it would not suspend the teacher, but rather remove him from the school for now.
He would then be on strict instruction to report for duty at the district office while investigations into the allegations continued.
The teacher had just been confirmed as a permanent employee by the department last month, having served in a school governing body post since 2017.
The department asked him not to show up for work on Wednesday as angry parents had rushed there in the morning.
They wanted to prevent him from entering the school premises, having learned about the allegations via social media the previous evening.
Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said: “We normally say we are evolutionarily removing an official from school to the district office. It’s a silent suspension, if we were to call it that.
“The feeling was that we can’t be paying people who are sitting at home doing nothing.
“We’d rather have that official at the district office so that they participate in the process of doing some work and anything that would be helpful to the department.”
Although the department said there were already 23 complainants, the police did not want to give a specific number until investigations were completed.
“At this stage of the investigations, we can only say that there are several schoolchildren,” Dlamini said.
JAMES MAHLOKWANE email@example.com
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