By Khaya Koko

A culture of violence and excessive drug use has emerged at a high school where a Grade 9 girl was raped, allegedly by two matric learners inside a toilet.
On Thursday, The Star reported how the 16-year-old Grade 9 girl was raped at Ekurhuleni’s Thuto Lesedi Secondary School in Vosloorus during the long break on July 25.

The victim, Phindulo*, was apparently dragged to the toilet, where she was brutally assaulted and sexually violated. Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that police were investigating a criminal case, and that a final determination on whether or not to prosecute would be made by the National Prosecuting Authority after police concluded their probe.
It has emerged that the two Grade 12 learners accused of the crimes were caught with hard drugs, apparently cocaine, on the school’s premises a week prior to the alleged rape and assault.
Teachers, parents of learners and community members around the school have spoken about a culture of lawlessness at Thuto Lesedi.

“This school has degenerated over the years, with knives and drugs being prevalent on the school’s premises, despite there being security guards at the gate.
“The same learners who are accused of raping the girl were caught with cocaine inside the toilets just a week before the sexual violation happened,” said a senior teacher at the school who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Phindulo’s family have accused the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) of covering up for the school as no-one from Thuto Lesedi or the GDE had followed up with the victim or offered her any form of assistance since the incident was reported.

The Star sent questions last Monday to the GDE, but the department asked for an extension in order for it to fully probe the claims before replying. It has not done so.
On Sunday, The Star again tried to contact departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona, who didn’t answer calls or respond to a text message by the time of going to print.
Phindulo hasn’t been to school since July 25 out of fear, while the accused have regularly attended classes, without any disciplinary action taken against them, according to the girl’s family and school staff.
“In fact, I saw one of the accused learners at school on Thursday, and he didn’t look bothered,” said the source, who also asked to remain anonymous.
Police spokesperson Colonel Dlamini said: “As the case is being reviewed, police were requested to further obtain a statement from another learner to verify the factual information provided to the police, as well as the medical report.
“Once the statement has been obtained, the case will be taken back to court for a further decision.”

@khayakoko88

* Not her real name

The Star

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