Sex favours sought at school

EFFSCspokesperson Naledi Chirwa accused COSAS on Tuesday of demanding sexual favours from Pretoria Highschool for Girls learners. Photo: Tshegofatso Ngobeni

Sexual favours are said to have been demanded from scholars of the Pretoria High School for Girls.

This accusation by the student leadership of the EFF has been made against members of the Congress of SA Students (Cosas).

ALSO READ: Cosas in MEC’s hair over PTA school for girls

EFF Student Command spokesperson Naledi Chirwa said the girls were being harassed by some Cosas leaders for sexual favours.

This was done after the student movement protested outside the school in September this year.

“They (Cosas male leaders) call the girls on a daily basis telling them that they owe them for protesting against the school’s management,” said Chirwa.

“They even ask these girls who are as young as 12 years old for sexual favours and want them to appear as vixens in their music videos.”

She said she was the one who demanded answers from the Gauteng basic education MEC Panyaza Lesufi about an inquiry into allegations of racism at the school.

A report on the inquiry was released on Friday – more than three months after the probe was commissioned.

Chirwa said the MEC had been dragging his feet on the matter.

“No one checked on the girls and Lesufi was quiet until I confronted him,” she said.

Former Cosas provincial secretary Benedict Phalane denied Chirwa’s accusations.

ALSO READ: Pretoria Girls’ protest disrupts schooling in Mamelodi

“The EFF student command is just seeking attention. If they are saying that we are demanding sexual favours then it’s not on,” he said.

“We primarily liberated the learners and the school was found guilty of wrongdoing.”

Phalane added: “Whoever is saying these things about us lacks morality and don’t have anything better to say.”

Gauteng basic education spokesperson Oupa Bodibe said the department had no knowledge of the EFF’s allegations.

“We are unaware of these allegations and have not received any complaints from the learners.”

Willem Eksteen, the spokesperson for the school’s governing body said he was also unaware of the claims of sexual harassment.

“We are not aware of these allegations, [but] will investigate.”

In late August, learners protested against teachers who they accused of unfair treatment.

Some learners complained that were being discriminated against over their hairstyle and for speaking in their mother tongue.

They claimed to have been called derogatory names by some teachers and fellow pupils.

Lesufi met learners, parents and the school’s governing body about the complaints in September.

This led him to request an external body to investigate the matter within 21 days.

A day after Lesufi’s visit, Cosas protested outside the school demanding the dismissal of the principal.

It also wanted the investigation to be completed within 14 days.

The report concluded that racism was indeed a reality at the school.

Conduct towards the black learners “was insensitive, immature, demeaning and denigrating” Lesufi told reporters.

ALSO READ: Lesufi meets governing body

The findings prompted an apology from the school’s governing body and an undertaking that disciplinary action would be taken against the culprits.

“We acknowledge that steps need to be taken to improve sensitivity for cultural and religious inclusion towards improving the social cohesion in our school,” said chairperson Graeme Wilson.

“An apology has already been extended to the affected learners who experienced victimisation and racial abuse.”


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Tshegofatso Ngobeni

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