Predatory teachers must be kept away from our schools

Today, the DA attended the court proceedings against two teachers who have been charged with sexual assault, after it emerged that 30 learners at Bothitong High School fell pregnant, allegedly as a result of sexual abuse by their teachers.
Given this, it is concerning that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has admitted that it does not collect data on how many school pregnancies occur as a result of sexual relationships between teachers and learners, especially given that 43 500 learners fell pregnant nationally over three years, 1 345 of which were in the Northern Cape alone.
The DA will, therefore, demand that the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, provide an urgent update as to just how many learners have fallen pregnant as a result of abuse from the very people who are meant to teach them.
We will also write to the Chairperson of the Basic Education Portfolio Committee, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, to ask that the Department urgently present the draft National Policy for the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy to the Committee so that it may finally be put in place.
Currently, there is no provision for designated teachers to give support or counselling to learners who fall pregnant. More astounding is that the DBE also does not know whether girl pupils return to school after giving birth and this is a massive failure on the part of the department.
From the court, the DA will today head to meet with the principal of Bothitong High School to conduct thorough oversight and to question just why this terrible situation was allowed to occur.
Children deserve to learn in a safe environment, protected from sexual abuse and predatory teachers. Schools are places where children receive opportunities to create better lives for themselves and should not be spaces where learners are preyed upon.
Teachers are meant to provide our children with the best education they can offer so that they have the opportunity to create a better life for themselves. Teachers should never get in the way of this and the DA will not allow predator teachers to get off scot-free and those who are found guilty must be barred from teaching.