Mbali Ntuli, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
The response by KZN MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, and her department to the issue of sex offender educators in the province’s schools is extremely alarming.
It is clear from a recent media report that the MEC does not know a thing about the nature or the prevalence of this very disturbing social ill.
It would also seem that despite the seriousness of the issue, KZN’s Education department has no records whatsoever of teachers registered in this province who are previous sex offenders. Meanwhile, the Justice department is quoted as saying that all the department had to do was ask for these records.
The department’s failure to adequately deal with this issue has resulted in offenders leaving schools and going to others, knowing that nothing will happen to them.
Meanwhile, the South African Council of Educators (SACE) reported during an oversight visit by the DA’s Shadow Minister on Education that provinces often say they are investigating cases when they are not.
The DA in the KZN Legislature has been waiting five weeks for a response from MEC Nkonyeni to the following questions regarding sex offenders in schools;
– Does the KZN Education department have an up-to-date sex offenders’ register?
– How many offenders are listed in total?
– Has the department cross referenced the sex offenders register with teachers employed in KZN?
– Can the department provide a breakdown of the number of offenders listed per year for the past 3 years?
– Is the sex offenders register made available to schools in KZN?
It is clear now why our question has not been answered.
It is also clear that the MEC and her department are woefully out of their depth regarding the monitoring and stopping of sex offenders being hired by schools.
The DA expects the MEC to establish an immediate task team to collate and disseminate all information regarding sex offenders to every teaching authority in the province.
Any failure by the MEC to take this request seriously will result in every child sexually abused by an educator to be on her hands. The DA will not rest on this matter until every child in every school is safe from such predators.