Severe assaults have been taking place at the Parktown Boys’ High School – mostly at the Johannesburg school’s hostel – for at least a decade.
This is among the damning findings of a report into goings-on at the elite school. The report‚ commissioned by the Gauteng education department‚ comes in the wake of shocking revelations of sexual assault by former water polo teacher Collan Rex. The man has pleaded guilty to 144 counts of sexual assault involving 12 schoolboys.
But it seems that his were not the only incidents of assault at the school‚ many of them of a sexual nature.
Among the incidents‚ according to Peter Harris of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys‚ who released findings of the report to parents at a meeting on Thursday night‚ were sexually predatory behaviour targeting juniors at the school‚ assaults in the name of "initiation" and shocking utterances made by teachers in the presence of pupils.
"The culture of initiation still exists and more needs to be done to ensure that it is completely eradicated‚" said Harris.
Initiation was been found to have been happening since 2009.
A hardcopy of the report was not provided and TimesLIVE was not at the meeting. However‚ Gauteng education department spokesman Steve Mabona provided the publication with a series of videos from Thursday’s public meeting.
The report has implicated teachers‚ including one who has left the school‚ and pupils‚ including some who have matriculated. Nonetheless‚ they could still face charges.
Harris said the hostel in particular needed attention. "We recommend a comprehensive review of the way in which hostel is governed.’
He added: "Assault is a common law offence. Assault in any form does not prescribe or cannot be described as historical even it took place in the past. Evidence produced to us confirms that … assaults did take place."
The investigation also found that there was a "culture of silence" at the school – a situation that discourages pupils from reporting various incidents.
The report also found that duress was put on pupils to behave in a particular way‚ which was now the subject of a criminal investigation. Specifics were not provided.
Although the school faced these serious allegations‚ Harris commended it for the efforts made to prevent them from being repeated. These efforts included installing security cameras and using an anonymous app to report incidents‚ among others.
Mabona confirmed to TimesLIVE that all those implicated in the report would be charged.
"Yes‚ indeed‚ they will be charged. We have one teacher who is employed in one of our schools. Necessary correspondence is being finalised to charge accordingly‚" he said.
The report also made a recommendation regarding the employment of staff members‚ saying that psychometric testing and profiling should happen.
At the meeting‚ Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi thanked parents for their cooperation and assured them the department would "hastily deal with the perpetrators so that this chapter can be closed and can be closed permanently".