Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The DA has laid criminal charges against South African Council for Educators (Sace) officials for their failure to adequately vet teachers.

The party said the council was required by law to vet teachers against the National Register for Sex Offenders before issuing teaching licences‚ but that Sace had failed to do so for at least 10 years‚ potentially exposing many children to convicted sex offenders.

On Sunday‚ the party reported that in reply to its inquiries‚ Sace admitted it had not been able to check the names of potential teachers who might be sex offenders against the National Register for Sex Offenders or the Child Protection Register.

Sace‚ the professional council for teachers‚ only started making requests to access the registers in 2017.

The DA said it laid charges against the council’s CEO, Ella Mokgalane‚ chairman Mabutho Cele and other Sace board members who may have known about Sace’s failure to adequately vet teachers in terms of section 47 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act.

"Sace has failed our children and‚ as Child Protection Week draws to a close‚ it is imperative that the teacher-vetting body’s leadership is held accountable‚" said member of the portfolio committee on basic education Sonja Boshoff.

She said the DA hoped that the police would investigate Sace’s failure to abide by the law. "Those who have potentially put children at risk through this vetting failure must be held accountable."