DA Western Cape spokesperson for Education, Western Cape Provincial Parliament
I am shocked to have read about the horrific incident where a 16 year old schoolboy from Edgemead High, was allegedly brutally and sexually assaulted whilst on a school rugby tour. This, according to front page article of today’s ‘Die Burger’, 10 May 2012.
Incidents such as this must be strongly condemned. It is unacceptable that any practice which deprives another person of human dignity can be allowed. It horrifies and saddens simultaneously to realise that these violations occurred whilst the learner was in the care of the school. Regardless of whether the initiation practice was done under the auspices of the coach or any other school official or not, the sanctity and safeguarding principles entrusted on the school and the educators should have been extended to the rugby tour as well. The duty of care has been grossly neglected with devastating results.
Since learning of the incident I have spoken with the Western Cape Minister of Education, Donald Grant. He has assured me that a full investigation has been launched and that he and his Department are determined to unearth the truth regarding this specific incident and act accordingly. I am concerned, however, about the immediate remedial action taken as well as the apparent systemic error. Somehow, somewhere in the education system, the incident was not properly reported. I ask the Minister to investigate this as well, and to improve on, and eliminate, any possibility that it may happen in other areas as well.
I will also be taking the issue to the Standing Committee on Education. Questions should be asked about the prevalence of initiation incidents reported, to help ensure that unwelcome trends are spotted and dealt with effectively and decisively. This regrettable incident has once again cast the spotlight on initiation practices at school level, including sport initiation practices. I heed a stern warning to all learners and teachers in the Western Cape that violations of human dignity shall not be tolerated.