Home News Education dept suspends chief director accused of rape, sex assault

Education dept suspends chief director accused of rape, sex assault

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The Northern Cape Department of Education has placed its chief director of human resources, Thomas van Staden, on precautionary suspension pending an internal disciplinary hearing.

Women Waging War against GBVF blocked the entrance to the Department of Education. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education has placed its chief director of human resources, Thomas van Staden, on precautionary suspension pending an internal disciplinary hearing.

Van Staden is facing criminal charges in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court after two complainants employed at the Department of Education laid charges of sexual assault and rape against him.

Women Waging War against GBVF burnt tyres outside the department this week and obstructed the entrance to the offices.

They vowed to prevent Van Staden from entering the premises if he reported for work this week.

The convenor of the rights group, Milly Wolfe, stated that the MEC for Education had informed them on February 21 that Van Staden would not be suspended as the alleged incident took place a long time ago.

“An arrangement was made that he should work from home. Why is he getting special treatment? We will shut down the department if he does not resign. The department is protecting the rot,” said Wolfe.

Women Waging War against GBVF burnt tyres outside the Department of Education this week. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Wolfe added that more alleged rape victims had come forward following a march that took place to the department on February 16.

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Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said on Thursday that the department had decided to place Van Staden on precautionary suspension until his internal disciplinary hearing was concluded.

“The MEC for Education, Zolile Monakali, received a memorandum from a community-based organisation, Women Waging War against Gender-Based Violence, on allegations of sexual harassment cases at the Northern Cape Department of Education. These allegations affect certain individuals in the department, with some cases concluded and others in progress,” said Van der Merwe.

He added that the department was busy drafting a report on all the matters raised by the memorandum.

“The MEC assured the Women Waging War group that a comprehensive report will be provided on these matters as we view the allegations as very serious.”

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