“Rape is not a joke,” says MEC for Education, Debbie Schäfer of a controversial video which circulated on social media last week.
The video allegedly records a sexual assault by one 15-year-old pupil from Bishops Diocesan College on another while a third laughingly records the incident.
The elite Rondebosch school said they are investigating the video.
The Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) and the provincial education department have expressed concerns about the video.
The Executive Director of ISASA, Lebogang Montjane says they consulted with the school and an initial investigation indicated that no assault occurred.
“Any sexual assault is an extremely serious matter, whether the act is purely simulated or actually perpetrated.”
Mr Montjane said ISASA had not seen the video and therefore cannot make any statements on its content.
“Nonetheless, ISASA has faith in its member school that the gravity of this societal scourge will be impressed on all involved in an appropriate manner,” he said.
ISASA is also concerned that anyone sharing the video may cause damage to the minors involved.
“We must be mindful that if the video is as reported, these are minors and, as such, are in a developmental stage of life that makes the effective and appropriate handling of this incident extremely sensitive.”
Mr Montjane said if anyone distributes this video it will be a criminal offence in terms of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 and The Film and Publication Act 65 of 1996. As sections of those documents pertains to transmitting images of a sexual nature involving minors.
Ms Schäfer said the video was extremely distressing and most disturbing.
“If the allegations are true, it is a disgrace and harsh action must be taken against anyone involved, including those filming and egging the actions on, as well as anyone distributing such material.”
Ms Schäfer said even if it was not a rape that was recorded but only simulated rape, it was still a disgrace.
“Rape is not a joke, and the fact that we have such high levels of sexual violence in South Africa makes this even worse.”
Ms Schäfer said this cannot be tolerated and harsh action must be taken against all involved.
In a statement that Bishops shared with the Tatler on Tuesday March 16, the school confirmed they are investigating the incident.
They said no assault had taken place and they are taking “immediate steps” to establish what happened.
“Where the conduct of our pupils is inappropriate or amounts to a serious charge of misconduct the school will not hesitate to act immediately,” the statement said.
“There is information to suggest the claims being made on social media are incorrect and has the potential to cause harm, particularly to the children involved. We therefore urge all involved to treat social media claims with caution and sensitivity until the truth and accuracy of the incident are determined.”
Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam of Rondebosch police said that no case of sexual abuse was opened at the station with regards to the above incident.