As the nation mourns the gruesome death of two sisters, one a grade 10 learner at Augustineum Secondary School, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp has revealed that since last year 39 cases of teachers engaged in sexual affairs with learners’ were recorded across Namibia.
Surprisingly, all 39 cases recorded involved males, with 37 of them charged with misconduct, while five have since been discharged by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
She indicated that teachers have a tendency of resigning from their posts and then applying to other schools once they realise that their intimate affairs with learners have been exposed.
Her revelations come after a 32-year-old teacher at Augustineum, Ananias Kamati, allegedly killed his 18-year-old former girlfriend, Jacqueline Kuaseua and her 30-year-old sister, Cecilia Kuaseua in the bushes between Elim and Hermann Gmeiner primary schools in Khomasdal on Friday.
The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa yesterday said that Kamati had previously been involved in a relationship with a learner during his tenure at C. Heuva Secondary School in the Omaheke Region in 2008.
“He, however, resigned from the public service immediately after these allegations became known. He could, therefore, not be charged with misconduct because he resigned before these allegations could be properly investigated in order to solicit prima facie evidence to instate disciplinary action against him. I must emphasise that Mr Kamati was not transferred by the ministry, as speculated in the media,” the minister noted.
Steenkamp said 10 teachers out of the 39 charged, voluntarily resigned before their cases could be investigated by the ministry, adding that 14 are still awaiting their fate, as they are yet to be charged.
Two of the 39 are facing penalties, which the permanent secretary said involve a reduction in their salaries, while the two cases are still on the prime minister’s desk.
She could not say which region tops the list of teacher-learner relationships, but noted that not all cases referred to the Public Service Commission have merit, as some sexual encounters between teachers and learners are consensual.
According to Kamati’s profile provided by the ministry, he is a BETD Holder, obtained in 2008 and was initially employed as a teacher at C. Heuva Junior Secondary School in the Omaheke Region from June 6 until August 2010 when he tendered his resignation.
Kamati served as a temporary teacher at Okahandja Secondary School from February 2011 to April the same year. He then proceeded to work as a temporary teacher at Otjozondu Primary School from July 4, 2011 to August 25 and again from November 1 to December 31 the same year.
From January 21, 2012 to March that year, he worked as a teacher at Jakob Marenga Secondary School and was later employed permanently at Augustineum.
Contributing to discussions on gender-based violence on Wednesday in the National Assembly, Hanse-Himarwa recalled how she was accused of insulting teachers by publicly stating that teacher-learner sexual relationships at schools are a reality.
“Earlier this year I expressed myself on this issue and I ended up being the victim as people accused me of insulting teachers,” said an emotional Hanse-Himarwa. She issued a stern warning that any teacher, male or female, engaged in any act that brings the teaching profession into disrepute would be dealt with.
“Any death of an innocent Namibian child is one too many. These two young ladies, who had their lives cut short were in the prime of their lives, aged only 18 and 30. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” the distraught minister, who was on the verge on tears, said.
Kamati, who is now out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Katutura State Hospital, where he was taken after he reportedly attempted to commit suicide, is expected to appear in court on Monday. He stabbed his ex-girlfriend twice, once in the chest and head, while her elder sister also suffered multiple stab wounds.
Hanse-Himarwa said the entire teaching profession has been put to shame by the misdeed of a single teacher. She also appointed a team with specific terms of reference to conduct an in-depth investigation into the matter and similar cases.
Equally, she said the General Circular (Number 2 of 1997) is now retracted, thus leaving noroom at all for teachers who are discharged from the public service to be re-employed.
“Seeing that the Public Service Act is currently under review, I as the minister, so propose that all public servants should be held accountable, with stern action against them should they involve themselves in sexual relationships with children,” she said.
The two slain sisters will be laid to rest tomorrow at their home village of Otupupa in the Erongo Region.