Khensani Primary School in Tshwane is under threat by residents following the rape of a six-year-old Grade 1 girl in the school’s toilets, allegedly by a general worker.
Parents were on high alert following the incident and expressed their discomfort and doubts about their children’s safety.
News24 earlier reported five general workers at the school were asked to stay at home for their own safety.
The five were not suspended and remained on full pay.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the school and the girl’s family on Thursday.
“There were people who wanted to burn down the school today. There were people who wanted to attack the people at the school [and] destroy property,” he said.
“On the basis of that, we felt that they should be removed from the school, for their own safety.”
Lesufi added there would be increased police visibility at the school due to threats of disruptions. A police Nyala was stationed outside the school as the MEC interacted with the school management and governing body.
He also visited the toilet where the alleged rape took place.
Lesufi said people would not be stopped from protesting, but the school needed to be protected so that teaching and learning continued.
Speaking outside the school, Jeanette Baloyi, who has two children at the school, said the incident had left her in shock.
She added she felt let down by the school and believed her children were no longer safe. She said:
We want something to happen to the perpetrator. We want him arrested and not granted bail. That child is still very young. I am disappointed and heartbroken as a parent.
Baloyi said the school was expected to hold a meeting with parents on Friday.
News24 previously reported the six-year-old told her mother she was in the toilet when a man wearing a mask barged in, placed her on top of the seat and raped her.
During their meeting with Lesufi, the girl’s family expressed their dissatisfaction on how the school dealt with the matter since they reported it.
The incident allegedly happened last Monday – but the mother only noticed on Tuesday.
Lesufi said there were a lot of holes in the preliminary report around the incident and more experts in the form of social workers and healthcare workers were being brought in to assist with the investigation.
The child’s family was also undecided on whether they want to keep her at the school, they told him. Lesufi said the education department would implement whatever decision the family took regarding the education of their child.
He also gave the family feedback on the police investigation and the decision to ask five general workers to remain at home amid the probe.
Lesufi earlier revealed the four general assistants and a volunteer would remain at home, saying reports were that the volunteer had not returned to the school since the incident took place.
“We remain saddened, I must be honest. We remain saddened and will do everything within our powers as a department to ensure that we identify the culprit and the law must take its cause.”A march to the school was planned for Friday.
Lesufi said there were also patrollers at the school.
“We will put a team that is going to investigate everything. There are lots and lots of grey areas. When I even spoke to the parents, there are things that don’t add up.
“And we have to give it to experts that can collate the information, interrogate relevant people and give us the correct information. There are people at the school that are providing security,” he added. – news24