LENSERIA, South Africa – Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he would close down the exclusive Tebogo Kgobokoe Arts Academy on Friday following allegations of sexual assault and grooming.
Speaking to Bongani Bingwa on Radio 702 on Friday morning, Lesufi said the school would be closed “within the next few minutes”.
The R11 000 per month boarding school, situated on a nature reserve in the Lanseria area in Gauteng, came into the spotlight when a segment on the investigative TV show Carte Blanche revealed allegations of sexual assault and grooming by two former teachers at the school.
According to Carte Blanche, all of the victims and some of perpetrators were underaged at the time of the alleged incidents.
On Friday, Lesufi said the school would be closed down.
“There won’t be such a school in the next few minutes. By the end of the week, that school will be closed,” he said. “It is unfortunate. I really respect Tebogo [Kgobokoe], she’s a good dancer…but the allegations are damning.”
Kgobokoe is a well-known dancing champion and the owner and principal of the school.
Girls tied up, touched
Victims told Carte Blanche that, at a camp at the beginning of 2018, under the guidance of a senior teacher, boys would tie up girls and touch them inappropriately and kiss them “everywhere”.
The girls, who were 14 at the time, said they were blindfolded and had no idea who was touching them.
One of the girls alleges that she was encouraged by a teacher to have sex with a boy for the first time. She then went through with the act with the boy. The boy denies this, saying the girl approached him to “break her virginity” but he turned her down.
The boys also deny the allegations that they blindfolded and touched the girls, saying that they participated in “fun activities” such as volleyball and swimming, but no sexual activities.
The same teacher has also been accused of touching girls inappropriately.
A former teacher, Jennifer Notoane, said she witnessed the inappropriate touching of girls by the teacher, while being encouraged by a female teacher.
No condoms, abortion pills
The male teacher reportedly also made advances to Notoane. She was also allegedly propositioned by a 15-year-old boy.
A parent told 702 on Friday that her daughter and another girl had allegedly been given tablets to terminate possible pregnancies. The mother said the boys clubbed together to buy the medication.
“I found out that my child is sexually active when I went through her phone where she told one of her friends that she was no longer a virgin.
“She says they were being made to sleep with boys at the school by [the implicated teachers]. She says when they went camping and the teachers had gone to bed, [the teachers] took them to a dance hall, made them lie down and made the boys touch them on different types of their bodies,” the parent told Bingwa.
Carte Blanche reported that the boys allegedly did not wear condoms, which resulted in some pregnancies.
Kgobokoe has denied any knowledge of the allegations, saying “anything is possible…If you violate children, the law has to take its course”.
The teachers implicated declined to comment when they were contacted by Carte Blanche.
Some parents laid criminal charges, but pupils were allegedly instructed to lie when the police visited the school last year to take statements.
Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone of the North West SAPS said police had investigated the allegations and the matter had been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). On Friday, Mokgwabone told OgeneAfrican that the docket had been received back with queries. “It will be taken back to the prosecution after the queries have been attended to.”
The school’s website had earlier been shut down and OgeneAfrican could not access it on Friday morning.
Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed Lesufi’s intention to close the school to OgeneAfrican, saying a statement would be issued on Friday.