By Gibson Mhaka
A massive sex scandal has hit Mahlothova Secondary School in Umguza District, Matabeleland North amid allegations that one Form Three girl dropped out of school after being continuously defiled by one of the teachers who promised to help her pass her studies.
It is reported that the girl (name withheld) who is feared to be pregnant dropped out of school apparently in protest after the school authorities reportedly tried to conceal the matter.
The sexual abuse allegations by the teacher whose name is also being withheld wreaked havoc amid fears that worse could be happening to female pupils at the school’s makeshift boarding facility.
Further investigations by B-Metro after the alleged report of sexual abuse in question, revealed that it was not a first as there have been two others of a similar nature involving pupils who have since departed from the school and no legal action or criminal charges were preferred against any of the alleged perpetrators.
According to a source from the school who sought anonymity, some teachers and pupils at the school who are privy to the matter were worried because it appeared to have been swept under the carpet.
“The sexual abuse was discovered in October 2018, but was concealed by the school authorities in a bid to save the image of the school. It came to light after the alleged perpetrator was found at the girls’ hostel half naked at around 10pm looking for the victim.
“After being busted, the teacher was reported to the matron and teacher in charge of the girls’ boarding facility who later informed the headmaster and his deputy but they didn’t do anything,” said the source.
The victim, after being summoned by the school authorities, is alleged to have told them that before the alleged sexual abuse, the teacher in question had been pestering her to be his girlfriend.
She is alleged to have said: “U-sir wathi uyangifuna ngabe ngimtshela ukuthi sir awungihloniphi njalo hlonipha i-ring oyifake esandleni, u-sir waqhubeka engenzela ama-favours (the teacher said he loves me and I asked him why he didn’t respect me and the ring on his finger and he continued doing me some favours).
“After the school authorities had decided to conceal the matter, the girl threatened to commit suicide or leave the school stating that it was so painful to be disbelieved by people who were supposed to protect her.”
Realising that the school authorities had turned a blind eye, the girl reportedly stopped coming to school.
“She eventually dropped out of school. It was not because she didn’t have the money because her school fees were being paid by a non-governmental organisation.
The issue was also concealed by her class teacher mentor for the NGO supposedly at the instigation of the headmaster who wants to protect the teacher and the school’s image,” the source said.
It is reported that in March this year, in a bid to conceal the matter and to protect the image of the school, the authorities reportedly coached pupils and teachers close to the matter on what to say before the District Schools Inspector (DSI) Mrs Samkeliso Gwaza and her delegation came to the school to investigate reports of the alleged sexual abuse.
When reached for comment both the school’s headmaster Naison Sibanda and the DSI who could neither confirm nor deny the matter referred all questions to the Matabeleland North provincial education director (PED) Mr Jabulani Mpofu.
There are also reports that the parents of the girl were pressurised not to report the matter to the police after being promised some form of compensation by the culprit’s family.
“We suspect some undue influence on the girl’s family from both the teacher’s family and school authorities so as to save the culprit and the image of the school.
“It is unacceptable and we are calling on police and officials from the provincial education offices to thoroughly investigate the matter so that the culprit can be made to face the law.”
Mr Mpofu said his office had not yet received the reports adding that investigations would be conducted. B-Metro