The lawyer representing the teacher accused of sexually assaulting a learner at Thandokhulu High School earlier this year believes her client is being “subjected to unfair postponements”.
It is alleged that Ayanda Ntuthu touched a learner on his private parts during a sleepover at the school. He has also been accused of hitting another learner with a belt. He was released on R1,000 bail on 31 August and was ordered not to contact any of the witnesses.
An internal investigation by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) found Ntuthu not guilty of the allegations.
In August, learners at the school protested outside court calling for the teacher to be suspended and for the WCED to explain why he had been found not guilty.
During his last appearance at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court in October, state prosecutor Phumeza Mtuyedwa-Zondi asked for a postponement as two witness statements had not yet been obtained.
On Thursday, Mtuyedwa-Zondi said that there was still one statement outstanding. Asked why it had taken so long to speak to the witnesses, she said, “The investigating officer had a death in the family and has only just returned to work. She had difficulty getting the one witness statement because of a language barrier.”
Nthutu’s lawyer, who refused to give her name to GroundUp, told the court the state’s excuses were not valid. “It has been four months since my client’s first appearance. The state has had enough time to get these statements. I believe the witness is at school and I’m sure there is someone who can assist them with translation for the statement,” she said. The lawyer said her client “has been under a lot of stress” and asked that the case be removed from the court roll until the state was ready to proceed.
Magistrate Gulam Bower said due to the serious nature of the charge and that the matter involves a minor, he would allow the state one last postponement. Bower also told Ntuthu’s lawyer that the postponements were “unavoidable” due to the state’s high volume of cases and workload.
Ntuthu is due back in court on 20 November.
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