The head of Philipstown High School in the Northern Cape whose body was found in the Orange River had four sexual assault charges against him.
The body of Peter Aubrey Kroutz, 61, was found in the river on January 2 after he went missing on December 31.
Police have confirmed they have investigated at least four sexual offenses involving him.
But according to the parents of the school, he allegedly molested seven schoolgirls, three of whom wrote final exams last year.
Capt. Police spokesman Sergio Kock says they are still investigating the cause of Kroutz’s death.
According to the Northern Cape Education Department, he died at the time of his temporary suspension.
Kroutz was arrested on October 26 and released on R2 000 bail. He was suspended on October 28. He would appear in court on December 4, but it was postponed to January.
Geoffrey van der Merwe, a spokesman for the department, says it is unclear whether Kroutz’s death was related to the investigation or not.
Meanwhile, the headmaster of another Northern Cape high school has been suspended for similar charges against him.
The schoolgirls of a high school in the Northern Cape are reportedly living in fear because there is no decision from the department about the investigation – and the schools will start on Wednesday.
A parent who wants to remain anonymous says despite all the right channels being followed, it seems to them that there is a big problem in the province’s education department; that they cannot give judgment and settle matters.
The governing board handed the investigation over to the department and declined to comment on its own.
According to the department, an investigation was launched on August 26 after complaints of improper conduct.
When the trial began, the deputy fell ill and was on sick leave for two weeks.
“The investigation could therefore not proceed,” says Van der Merwe.
Further delays were then caused by the September exams and the school holidays thereafter.
The chief was charged on November 12. The matter has been filed with the Labor Relations Council in Education (ELRC) and they must now decide on a hearing date, according to Van der Merwe.
Henk Brand, the provincial secretary of the South African Teachers Union (SAOU), says the man has three criminal charges against him by three different girls.
He said the SAOU had heard from the Pixley ka Seme district office that the education department would respond on Monday to a letter from the deputy chief’s lawyers.
According to a new law, the accused must be heard within three months and may not be suspended indefinitely.
“It seems that in this case it will not happen within three months, largely because of the education department that has not yet responded.”
Therefore, the deputy principal can insist on going back to school, provided he has a letter from the department.
Where the department has failed, he says, is to keep the school that brought the complaints up to date with the process.
“And to put pressure on RAVO to get the hearing organized.”
The SAOU’s advice to the school was, among other things, that the principal should have a letter from the department instructing him to report to the school, otherwise they could order him to leave the premises.
Paul Colditz, chair of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas), says the department could have at least kept the school up to date.
“But from the school’s point of view there is only a lingering silence which is not good for the image of the department.
“Among other things, we (FEDSAS) raised this issue in November last year with the MEC for Education in the Northern Cape.
“When we expressed dissatisfaction with the silence of the department, she (the MEC’s) reply was that the deputy head is on sick leave, which was extended to December 6, 2019; “coincidentally” the day on which schools closed for the year. “