Eastern Cape teacher under investigation for cocaine use

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Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Bonile Khanyi

A teacher in the Eastern Cape is under investigation for using cocaine in front of pupils at the Collegiate Girls High School in Port Elizabeth, according to the SA Council of Educators.

SACE launched the investigation following the dismissal of Visual Arts teacher Dewalt van der Westhuizen who was found guilty of four internal charges by the school management.

Westhuizen was found guilty of offering, supplying and using an illegal substance in front of pupils.

Westhuizen was dismissed after the school conducted an internal investigation, following reports that he allegedly sold drugs to two pupils in school in July this year.

On August 25, a hearing was held and he was found guilty of all charges and subsequently fired.

SACE spokesperson Themba Ndlovu said that an investigating officer has been deployed to the school for more information.

“We can confirm that an investigation officer went to the school today. After we spoke to the department of education, which provided us with evidence and recommendations, we sent out an official who will conduct and investigation and once we have all the necessary facts from the investigating officer, we will then take it from there,” said Ndlovu.

When asked what sanctions will be imposed on the teacher, Ndlovu said it all depended on what the investigating officer recommends should be done.

“If the investigation officer’s report indicates that a disciplinary hearing should be convened, we would convene the disciplinary hearing and on the basis of the recommendations of the disciplinary hearing, we would be able to take the correct steps. So, I cannot pre-empt at this stage what kind of sanctions will be given to the teacher,” he said.

Van der Westhuizen ran both the Art and Photography clubs since he was employed by the School Governing Body (SGB) in January this year.

He was also found guilty of organising and advertising a visual arts tour without permission. The teacher was also found guilty of negligent conduct after he lost a school-allocated laptop.

The Eastern Cape Department of Education has since commended the school for suspending Van der Westhuizen, saying they were happy with the swift action of the SGB and the school management team upon learning about this matter.

 

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Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

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