CGE calls for barring of Fiona Viotti from teaching over sexual misconduct

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Release Date: 04 December 2019

To: Editors, Producers and Reporters

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has noted a report into sexual misconduct by Fiona Viotti, a teacher from Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town.  The CGE on its own accorded as empowered by CGE Act 39 0f 1996, as amended Section 11 (1) which say, “The shall investigate any gender­related issues of its own accord or on receipt of a complaint” started monitoring the case the moment it was known to the institution. The CGE is also aware that Viotti has resigned from the Bishops Diocesan College amid this scandal.

The CGE respects the rule of law, however her resignation should not be and end it all. Viotti must be barred from the teaching profession and the South African Council of Educators (SACE) revoke her registration from the teaching profession. Her name should also be included in the Sexual Offenders Register and all Provincial Departments of Education be alerted of such serious indiscretion.   The reason for this is that the Commission has been alerted that teachers have a tendency of doing something wrong in one province and move to another as if nothing happened from their previous school.

The CGE has also noted the request in a statement by the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities for the “Commission to meet with both Department of Basic Education (CGE) and SACE about the sexual misconduct in schools”.

The CGE can confirm that such a meeting has already taken place on 1st October 2019. The CGE meet with the Director General of DBE Mweli Mathanzima and a legal representative of SACE following   spate of sexual violence in schools, both perpetrated by fellow learners and by the Educators.   

This meeting happened after the CGE has done a summation of sexual violence in schools across various provinces such as Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West.  The CGE observed the following amongst others:

  • There is an extremely high rate of sexual violence in schools across the country;
  • High number of pregnancies as a result of inappropriate sexual behaviour which leads to girls being unable to complete their schooling;
  • Sexual harassment perpetrated by educators against learners and amongst educators;
  • Unsafe spaces in the school environment as the majority of these offences take place at school, even during school hours;
  • Victims of sexual violence are both males and females.

The CGE will upon receiving the report on the investigation on Viotti’ sexual misconduct will engage both the Department of Basic Education and the Provincial Department of Education in the Western Cape about the need of Psycho-Social assistance to the boys that are alleged to have been abused sexually by Viotti and that policies be in place that will be ensure such incident does not happen in future or any school for that matter.

Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)