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50-year-old Limpopo teacher in the dock for allegedly raping pupil, 17

17 May 2021

A 50-year-old teacher from Mbilwi Secondary School in Thohoyondou, in Limpopo, was in the dock for allegedly raping a 17-year-old pupil on multiple occasions.

The man appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate's Court on Monday on three counts of rape. The case was postponed to 24 May for the man to get legal representation and file a formal bail application, police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

The teacher was arrested on 14 May. According to the police, the pupil was allegedly raped by the man on several occasions in 2018.

Mojapelo said:

The victim, who is now 20, opened the case in April at the Thohoyandou police station, the spokesperson added.

He said the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) took over the case. Following a lengthy investigation, the suspect was arrested.

Provincial education department spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene told News24 the office was aware of the arrest.

"These are serious and very disturbing allegations that cannot be taken lightly. We will give comment on the matter in due course," Chuene said.

Mbilwi Secondary School made headlines in April after 15-year-old Lufuno Mavhunga overdosed on pills after being assaulted in a bullying incident. She died in hospital.

A video circulated on social media showing Mavhunga being pushed and shoved by another teenager.

The accused teenager was arrested and released on R1 500 bail.

The incident resulted in a countrywide debate around bullying at schools and other settings, such as workplaces.

SAHRC hearings

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Limpopo SA Human Rights Commission announced it would be conducting hearings into bullying, corporal punishment, and sexual relationships between teachers and pupils in the province.

The hearings are expected to take place from Tuesday until Thursday.

The commission said the Limpopo Department of Education and other key stakeholders were expected to provide the commission with information and evidence on how the identified challenges could be addressed.

SAHRC Limpopo Manager, Victor Mavhidula said:

"Bullying in schools has reached concerning prevalence within schools, highlighted by the recent tragic incidents which unfolded at the Mbilwi Secondary School within the Vhembe District, of the Limpopo Province."

He added: "The bullying of learners further adversely affects the rights of minors, including the right to equality, dignity, safety and security and basic education.

"The Commission has called for the participation of parents, teacher unions, the South African Police Service [SAPS], the Department of Social Development [DSD], civil society and others to appear before it and provide evidence under oath during hearing proceedings."

Source: News 24

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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