A Free State teacher has been dismissed after being found guilty of having a sexual relationship with a pupil.
Moshe Mofokeng pleaded not guilty to charges of having had a sexual relationship with the 22-year-old.
The matter was referred to the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) by the education department.
According to the council, some of the alleged incidents took place at Mofokeng’s home, and the young woman and her parents reported the matter in writing to the principal of Dinare Secondary School in QwaQwa.
The pupil confirmed to the council that the charges levelled against Mofokeng, who taught tourism and Sesotho, were true.
“The learner referred to photographic pictures known as ‘selfies’ and stated that it is her and the employee appearing in the pictures.
“She stated that sexual intercourse between her and the employee took place at the employee’s private residences in Magalamang and Bukamsbush and at certain guest houses,” the council said.
The pupil said she and Mofokeng dated for two months and their relationship ended in December 2019 when she told him she no longer wanted to be with him.
The school principal, Molingoana Zacharia, told the council the pupil’s boyfriend had approached him and showed him pictures on his phone of the pupil and the teacher having sex.
“He stated that he advised the boyfriend to lodge a formal complaint with the employer and that he (the principal) also reported the matter to his circuit manager,” said ELRC commissioner David Pietersen.
“The principal confirmed the phone call which he received from the grandmother and that the learner’s uncle also wrote four letters to him regarding the relationship.”
A representative from the education department told the council that the teacher had shown no remorse for his transgressions.
“He submitted that the employee compromised the core business of the employer which is teaching and learning and that the employee’s long service and clean disciplinary record does not mitigate his case. The representative submitted that the employer does not condone the misconduct,” said Pietersen.
Arguing his case, Mofokeng said it was impossible for him to meet the pupil between October and December 2019 because of the school camps at the time.
“The employee testified that a colleague of his told him about a meeting which had taken place at school between the principal, some teachers and the learner in which, according to his colleague, the learner was coerced by the principal to admit that she left the camp on a certain night.
“He stated that according to his colleague, the learner did not want to agree with the version of the principal and that the principal threatened to expel the learner should she refuse to agree with his version.”
Mofokeng told the council he had had a “normal” teacher-pupil relationship with the young woman. He disputed the authenticity of the pictures and what the pupil’s boyfriend told the principal.
Pietersen found that the teacher had abused his authority. “Despite the age of the learner, the employee had a legal duty to protect the interest of the employer and society by maintaining a professional teacher/ learner relationship with the learner. This, he failed to do. The employee’s conduct was weak and disgraceful,” Pietersen found.