South Africa News

KZN teacher fired for allegedly asking for & sending n#des to schoolgirl

The KwaZulu-Natal education department has been ordered to fire a high school teacher, M.E Mnkwanyana, for allegedly exchanging explicit messages with a grade 11 pupil.

The matter, first reported last year, was heard by the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) on 19 October 2023, 26 February 2024 and 26 March 2024.

The teacher was accused of misconduct and contravening section 17 of the Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998.

Teacher vs pupil

The pupil had accused English teacher Mnkwanyana, said to be 39 years old, of requesting n#de pictures from her.

He allegedly also showed her his private parts.

The pupil said she started communicating with Mnkwanyana via WhatsApp when she and classmates needed some corrections to be made.

The conversations then escalated allegedly turned s.e.xual, with Mnkwanyana further advising her to avoid getting pregnant and using condoms/contraceptives.

He then allegedly requested for n#de pictures, which she sent. He also allegedly showed her his pen!s on a video call.

The conversations were discovered by the pupil’s aunt and she reported the matter to the school.

During the investigation, Mnkwanyana allegedly admitted in his statement: “I have acted unprofessionally and diverged from my professional duties by behaving wrongly towards the child.

“I spoke to the child unprofessionally and asked her to send inappropriate photos. Out of shame, I deleted the photos on my phone. The parents came to the school and I did not refuse the information they brought forward about this matter.”

Mnkwanyana was “profoundly apologetic and shameful of myself and actions”.

He denied having touched the pupil.

“I can do whatever is needed to correct my wrong and assist the child and family in dealing with this situation. I am humbly sorry and wish to be given a chance to correct all my wrongs.”

Mnkwanyana denies allegations

Mnkwanyana later denied the allegations levelled against him.

He claimed it was not him exchanging the messages with the pupil, and that his phone could have been hacked.

However, the pupil disputed his version. She said there were about three video calls in which she saw Mnkwanyana’s face on the phone.

Senior ELRC arbitrator in KwaZulu-Natal Raj Shanker found against Mnkwanyana and said the admission that he was the one who had asked the pupil to send him inappropriate photos was “a clear admission that it was him and not someone else that used his phone to communicate with the pupil via WhatsApp”.

Shanker also disputed Mnkwanyana’s claims that he wrote his admission statement under pressure from the principal.

“His version in this regard was not substantiated. The only issue alleged by Mnkwanyana is that the principal read some notes of what Learner A’s father/uncle had stated in their meeting and that the principal came back after 20 minutes and asked him to write the statement.

“He agreed that he was told to just write something and no one put words in his mouth. This, in my view, could hardly be considered as undue pressure. I find, therefore, that he wrote the statement voluntarily and freely.”

The Department of Education was directed to dismiss Mnkwanyana immediately.

The ELRC further recommended that the sanction be sent to the Department of Social Development for Mnkwanyana’s name to be included in the National Child Protection Register.

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