Johannesburg – Two Gauteng mathematics students accused of attempting to rape a 9th grade girl were expelled from school.
Cautious optimism greeted Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday at Thuto Lesedi High School in Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni, where he admitted that the school was "infected with drugs" and violence.
The apparitions were the result of shocking allegations that on July 25, a 16-year-old schoolgirl * Phindulo was forcibly dragged to the boys' toilets, where her head was crushed against a wall, and one was accused of penetrating her vagina with her fingers.
One of the accused, 23, allegedly stood guard at the toilet door during an alleged assault.
However, according to high-level sources, mathematics learners were found guilty of school rape attempts during an interrogation that ended on Tuesday.
"I think during the interrogation it was established that because the student had been penetrated with his fingers, he would have ruled as an attempted rape.
"One was found guilty of attempted rape and the other was a partner in rape.
Both were also found guilty of misleading the school and school governing body through a lie during the trial, "one source said asking for anonymity.
"But the students have been expelled and will come back just to write their exams," adds the source.
The Phindulo family, teachers and the community who talked to the Star were cautiously optimistic about Lesufi's visit.
They expressed gratitude for the advice the girl would receive.
But one teacher who wanted to remain anonymous warned that a full cleaning campaign was needed to bring the school back to what the teacher called its former glory.
"To be honest, I'm afraid for my life. There are boys in this school who are part of the gangs and bring dangerous weapons with them.
"Another boy was found last week with a Okapi knife in a bag. Then people say we are not disciplining these children, but how can you discipline someone who can stab you to death? "
Lesufi admitted that Thuto Lesedi had a lot of problems, including grade 12 students who sold drugs on premises and apparently recruited younger students for this illegal trade.
Lesufi said he was both angry and frustrated, as he called it, a system failure, where it took over two weeks for the Department of Education (GDE) to be fully aware of these allegations, and to apply disciplinary measures against the two principles of students.
Asked if the bosses would rush at what the victim's family meant by GDE cover-up, Lesufi said the probe was launched and GDE would follow the report.
"The basis of every report is action and decisive action," said MEC.
He added that in normal GDE processes, an attacked girl would have to receive advice and offer educational assistance.
"All these things didn't happen," said Lesufi.
Gauteng police confirmed that the case is under investigation.
* Not her real name