Gauteng Teacher Cleared After Accusations Of Sexual Misconduct
The Gauteng Department of Education has been ordered to reinstate a teacher who was suspended following allegations of sexually abusing a pupil and smoking drugs in the class. The charges now appear to have been false.
Mario Marshal Mokwena, a Randfontein Secondary School teacher, has been found not guilty at an inquiry at the Education Labour Relations Council, according to reports by IOL.
An inquiry presided over by Arbitrator Themba Manganyi, aimed to determine whether Mokwena was guilty of smoking the drug 'Cat' in class in addition to sleeping with a Grade 9 learner in 2017.
IOL further reports that the mother of the accuser reported Mokwena to the authorities this past year which resulted in the teacher being placed on precautionary suspension.
However, according to evidence presented before Manganyi, the allegations came about after the accuser was assaulted by her boyfriend while pregnant.
The inquiry further established that the, now 19-year-old accuser was coerced by her boyfriend to write a statement detailing the allegations against Mokwena.
I therefore find that the statement was written under duress.
- Themba Manganyi
The allegations were that Mokwena slept with the then Grade 9 learner several times at his rented accommodation in Randfontein. It was alleged that the girl would sneak from her home at night to make her way to Mokwena.
The accuser alleged that Mokwena had sexual intercourse with her on one occasion and then took another learner to his bedroom. The department charged Mokwena over this allegation, too. But it did not call the learner to testify at the inquiry, Manganyi said.
“I, therefore, find that allegation 2 is based on hearsay. Thus, I cannot find Mokwena guilty on this charge,” Manganyi ruled. Mokwena’s accuser also alleged that he smoked Cat in class.
Mokwena led evidence intended to prove that the allegations were improbable. He submitted that he did not stay at the place the accuser alleged she had sneaked into in 2017.
Manganyi’s major finding pertained to whether it was probable that the accuser sneaked out of her home at night several times to go to Mokwena’s residence. The accuser’s mother testified that she was strict and locked the gates around 6pm.
Manganyisaid, “I find it improbable that (she) would go to such trouble to sneak out of her mother’s place and sneak into (Mokwena’s) place on four or five occasions and back at her mother’s house without being observed."
It is my considered view, based on a balance of probabilities, that Mokwena did not commit the misconduct levelled against him.
Manganyi found the department to have failed to prove Mokwena’s guilt.
“Consequently, I … find Mokwena not guilty of all the charges that were preferred against him,” he ruled.
“I order the employer, the Gauteng Department of Education, to uplift Mr Mokwena’s precautionary suspension and to reinstate the terms and conditions of his employment contract prior to his precautionary suspension with immediate effect,” Manganyi added
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