By Linda Pona
A St Andrew’s College (SAC) staff member has been suspended from the school and arrested on charges of allegedly raping a 7-year-old boy.
Police Spokesperson Warrant Officer Majola Nkohli confirmed that “A 49-year-old man briefly appeared in the Makhanda Magistrates’ Court [on]Monday, 31 July 2023 on rape charges, following his arrest on Sunday, 30 July 2023”.
Nkohli stated that the suspect’s alleged involvement in raping the young boy took place in 2022 and that “the circumstances surrounding the incident are forming part of the investigation”.
According to a media statement by SAC Headmaster Tom Hamilton, the alleged sexual offence took place at a private residence, off school grounds. Hamilton said the victim attends another school in Makhanda.
Hamilton stated that SAC “received information on Saturday, 29 July, that a case had been opened with the SAPS against a member of the administrative staff, and placed him on precautionary suspension with immediate effect that same day”.
Hamilton added that he “has no knowledge of reportable or inappropriate conduct having occurred at St Andrew’s College or at St Andrew’s Prep during the time of the individual’s employment. St Andrew’s College takes these allegations extremely seriously and will be bringing disciplinary charges against the individual concerned and initiating its own investigation into the matter”.
Hamilton further added that “Nothing is more important to St Andrew’s College than its duty of care to its pupils. Parents and staff have been informed of the suspension”. He said the suspect would remain suspended until the matter had been fully investigated and a decision had been reached by the court.
The school will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation and will launch its own internal investigation into the matter, Hamilton said, adding that the school could not comment further on the matter, given that it is of a sensitive nature.
The suspect, a former community newspaper sports photographer and editor, cannot be named until he has pleaded in court. He has been remanded in police custody and is due to appear in court on Monday, 7 August 2023, to apply for bail.