'A line was crossed,' says parliament over Bishops sex scandal

18 October 2019 - 15:09 By Dan Meyer
Fiona Viotti is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with pupils at Bishops in Cape Town.
Fiona Viotti is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with pupils at Bishops in Cape Town.
Image: Facebook/Fiona Viotti

Parliament's basic education committee has condemned the alleged actions of former Bishops teacher and water polo coach Fiona Viotti, who is accused of having had a sexual relationship with a pupil, saying that regardless of the boy's age, "a line was still crossed".

Committee chair Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said that despite reports that the pupil who is reported to have had an affair with the 32-year-old is over the age of 18, the incident was unethical and abusive. 

She also noted an increase in incidents involving male pupils and female teachers.

"Any educator has an ethical responsibility to how she conducts herself. Even if a learner is above the age of consent, there is still a lot of dynamics at play and he remains a school child," she said. 

Mbinqo-Gigaba said that boys who had been affected "over a number of years" should come forward and feel no shame.

"We commend the school for encouraging the boys to speak up and attempting to get to the bottom of this. We call on parents to speak to their children and make them realise that there is nothing shameful in coming forward if they had experienced the same treatment from the teacher." 

She alluded to an alarming trend of sexual relationships between students and teachers that has emerged in South Africa, making a point of noting that boys are vulnerable too. She said that a meeting with the South African Council of Educators (SACE) had called for urgent intervention from government.

"At that meeting, SACE was clear that irrespective of how small the age gap between a learner and an educator might be, there is a line that should not be crossed. He remains a learner and she remains an educator," she said.


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