Mr. R. de Ridder, Principal of Laerskool Gen.Hendrik Schoeman at Hartebeespoortdam outside Pretoria, was acquitted on nine counts of racism, sexual harassment of teachers and Improper conduct.
De Ridder was dismissed by mr. H. Mweli, acting director- general of education for North West Province after an investigation by the departments regional office for labour affairs.
The investigation followed a letter sent to the department by the schools governing body. Allegations are now being made that De Ridder had been falsely prosecuted due to issues between him and the department regarding the admission of black children residing in a squatter camp close to the school.
A disciplinary committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Mr. B. Malaka from the human resources offices of the Education Department. Adv. Hartley Ngoato, De Ridder’s legal representative, attended by Mr. Frans Rootman, have requested all documentation, statements and other evidence be made available to them. They were informed that there was no written evidence and that all evidence would only be led verbally.
13 witnesses gave evidence against De Ridder, including teachers alleging sexual harassment. On the last day of the investigation, yesterday, Ngoato said documents that “prove that the department neglected to produce anystatements for either De ridder or Malaka at all” Mr. Malaka then acquitted De Ridder on all counts because the department “had acted prejudicially towards De Ridder by failing to comply with the procedural requirements of such a hearing”.