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Rundu teacher fights for reinstatement

2024-01-12  John Muyamba

Rundu teacher fights for reinstatement

RUNDU – A male teacher and sports coach at Noordgrens Secondary School in Rundu, Henk Bronner, is fighting tooth and nail to be reinstated after he was discharged following corporal punishment allegations.

He was dismissed from work in October last year.

However, the line ministry says he was discharged for alleged improper conduct with female learners.

Bronner is denying that he stands accused of touching female learners inappropriately; he only knows of corporal punishment allegations. 

“I was fired in October on the claim that I apply corporal punishment. They terminated my employment contract, and I handed it to my lawyer,” he said.

“There were allegations that I am applying corporal punishment, but I am fighting that story. I was just made a scapegoat because of the allegations that went viral on Facebook in 2019; an issue which was clarified and cleared,” he stated.

Bronner was accused in 2019 by a former learner of allegedly defiling her some 19 years before, and at the dusk of last year, new allegations emerged that the teacher allegedly continued to conduct himself in a very inappropriate manner towards learners.

New Era spoke to the ministry of education’s executive director (ED) Sanet Steenkamp regarding the matter.

“Recent incidents prior to his discharge led to investigations, which found that learners were allegedly touched inappropriately by this man. We found that he continued to conduct himself in a very inappropriate and unbecoming manner, and these practices are regarded as sexual harassment. These are very, very serious major offences,” Steenkamp explained. 

The ED confirmed that on 26 September last year, prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila rejected and dismissed Bronner’s appeal that he procedurally submitted after the hearing. 

“He was discharged via a letter from our office while I was not in office, and there was an acting ED. The letter was signed on 12 October, and the discharge was done in terms of the Public Service Act, Act 13 of 1995.”

On the 2019 issue of alleged sexual harassment of a former learner who reported the case to the ministry 19 years later, she said the ministry has reports that show that the complainant refused to provide a written statement to substantiate her claim. 

“The written statement that she provided is contradicting that of a specific record set out by her and her family members,” the ED elucidated.

She said according to the Public Service Act 13 of 1995, section 33 number 1, “no legal proceedings of whatever nature shall be brought in respect of anything done or omitted in terms of this Act, unless such procedures are brought within 12 calendar months from the date on which the claimant had knowledge or might reasonably have been expected to have knowledge of the things that have been alleged to have been done or omitted, whichever is the earliest date”.

“This means that this matter has exceeded the limited period for legal proceedings. Having said this, our in-depth reports of the investigation which was done in terms of the said teacher’s conduct towards other learners has led us to recommend that the cases be reported to the Namibian Police,’’ she stated.

Bronner’s lawyer told New Era the matter is now with the Labour Commissioner. 

“We already wrote a letter to the ministry to lift the decision because if you look at the sanction, it was not because of touching learners. That case was thrown out, and the case that was brought forward that he was expelled for was a case of 2019 when he hit a girl, and he missed and hit her on the back. He got a verbal warning that he must not beat the children. However, in 2022 they brought back that case that he was abusing a girl, which is double jeopardy,” said lawyer Diaz Kavu. 

Kavu accused the school of a witch-hunt against his client.

“That case was thrown out by the chairperson of the disciplinary committee because of a lack of evidence, and there was no one who testified. He did not touch any kid,” he added. 


2024-01-12  John Muyamba

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